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Cutting from a breviary: Initial C with a choir of Franciscan monks


Cantate Domino: Medieval Music Manuscripts in the Free Library of Philadelphia, 900-1500

These manuscripts were exhibited at the Free Library of Philadelphia’s Rare Book Department from March 2, -June 26, 2009.

Now that the objects have been digitized, we have created an online exhibition for continued curiosity and enjoyment.

Record Details

Title: Breviary?


This initial begins Psalm 97, "Cantate Domino canticum novum ..." (Sing to the Lord a new song), marking one of the eight liturgical divisions for the weekly recitation of the Psalms. This psalm is typically illustrated by a group of monks singing. Here, the monks are Franciscan friars, identified by the color of their robes and the visible first of three knots that symbolize the Order's vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience. The words inscribed on the open book are the same words that originally followed the initial. The illumination has been attributed to the anonymous Master of the Franciscan Breviary, so-called after a breviary dated to 1446 in the Biblioteca Universitaria in Bologna, Italy.

Initial C with a choir of Franciscan friars

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