The Breslau Psalter

Full-page prefatory miniatures

Texts and Images

The prefatory cycle contains eight full-page miniatures depicting events in Christ’s early life, starting with the Annunciation. Found in deluxe Psalters, such cycles underscored the understanding of the Psalms as Old Testament prophecies fulfilled in the New Testament. Presented as pairs on double openings, the miniatures are painted on one side of the leaves only, leaving the other side of the costly parchment blank. This is one of the numerous indications that no expense was spared in the production of this manuscript.

This miniature exemplifies Hand A’s sophisticated painting of drapery. The Virgin’s green cloak is shaded in green lines darker than the base green tone, but the highlights combine the traditional white patterns with areas modelled in pink and harmonising with the pink tunic beneath. This tri-chromatic modelling is among Hand A’s hallmarks.