Free Library of Philadelphia


Initial D with a corpse personifying death

This initial begins the Office of the Dead. The corpse within the initial is a "momento mori," a reminder that death comes to all. Hagiographic evidence in the calendar suggests that this book of hours was made for a Vallombrosan monk from the abbey of Passignano in central Italy. The feast of St. John Gaulbert (July 12), the founder of the Vallombrosan Order, is commemorated in the calendar as is the dedication of the basilica of San Michele (September 29), the abbey church at Passignano where St. John Gaulbert is buried.

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