The Breslau Psalter

Hand A


He made the greatest contribution: nine full-page miniatures (fols. 18r, 19v, 50r, 73r, 74v, 86r, 87v, 99r, 100v). His imposing figures with gold-tooled halos suggest that he was used to working on a large scale. He favoured bright pink robes, light yellow areas and tri-chromatic highlights on green drapery. He collaborated with the Gaibana Master and his Associate, sharing with them some iconographic compositions as well as stylistic features and painting techniques, including the red outlines of facial features, draperies with nestled folds, impasto contours and glazes on fabrics. Yet, the pigments and modelling technique he chose for flesh tones differ markedly from those employed by the Gaibana Master and his Associate. Hand A’s pink flesh tones have blue undertones obtained with woad, while the blue-grey beards of his older characters contain ultramarine blue. His modelling of flesh areas shows clearly the different layers of pigments, unlike the smooth blending of paint characteristic of the Gaibana Master and his Associate. Hand A’s major contribution and varying degree of influence on the remaining Silesian illuminators suggest that he was an established artist, perhaps a painter at the ducal court, who influenced the remaining local artists without imposing a uniformity of style, painting materials or techniques.

Lightbox: 203
Detail of the kneeling king’s face and halo under magnification (7.5x). His flesh tone is built upon a light blue layer painted with woad, while his hair and beard contain ultramarine blue. The gold leaf of the halo, laid over a ground layer containing verdigris, has suffered significant losses due to the degradation and loss of adhesion of the green pigment.

The monumental figures and elaborately tooled gold halos are characteristic of Hand A’s work. The composition betrays his collaboration with – or knowledge of works by – the Master of Giovanni da Gaibana, as it is closely related to the Gaibana Master’s painting of the same subject in the Paduan Epistolary.