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Initial R: The Resurrection
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Antonio da Monza
Italian, Rome, late 1400s or early 1500s
Tempera colors and gold leaf on parchment
25 1/4 x 17 1/8 in.
MS. LUDWIG VI 3, FOL. 16

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A grand initial R ornaments the most elaborate page in the gradual and marks the introit for Easter, the chant sung by the choir as the priest enters the church. Within the letter, Jesus stands atop his sarcophagus, giving the priestly sign of blessing while holding a cross staff with a banner, a traditional sign of his Resurrection. Below him, several Roman guards awaken from sleep. A long vista extends into the distance to include a monastery.

In the border, decorative and figural motifs derived from classical antiquity and known as grotesques delight the eye. Winged putti scamper across the backs of tritons, and Roman monumental lettering mingles with military trophies and carved cameos.

Detail Views

Bust of Christ and putti
Bust of Christ and putti

Latin monumental lettering
Latin monumental lettering

Saint Sebastian
Saint Sebastian

Virgin Mary in medallion
Virgin Mary in medallion