THE RARE BOOK AND
MANUSCRIPT LIBRARY
OF COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY

Treasures


20 Antiphonarium secundum morem congregationis sanctae Justinae
Latin manuscript on vellum, 171 leaves, Perugia, ca. 1480 (Plimpton 41)
Used in the musical performance of the daily Offices, antiphonals offered great scope for artistic embellishment. Once the property of the Benedictine monastery of San Pietro in Perugia where it was part of the choir's collection of service books, this monumental volume contains important work by Giacomo Caporali, noted Italian miniaturist (fl. 1470-1480), including portraits of St. Justine, St. Benedict, St. Peter, and the scene within the massive initial M, of St. Andrew being called by Christ, illustrating the text of the anthem for the Vigil of St. Andrew which follows. The music is written on a four-line staff ruled in red; the text is in the littera Bolognesa, a round Italian gothic hand commonly used in liturgical books. Throughout the manuscript, chants commence with large, intricate lace initials in red and blue, one of which (folio 133 verso) is historiated with a portrait of John the Baptist. It is bound in contemporary oak boards covered with russia leather, and the back cover still retains the letter K, marking the volume's place in the monastery's collection.
Gift of George A. Plimpton

Collections and Treasures