The 150 Psalms of the Old Testament were the most important work of devotional literature in the Middle Ages. The Book of Psalms came to be transmitted not only as part of the Bible, but also, in the form of the psalter, as a text in its own right. The psalter came to be illustrated-often profusely-as an aid to devotion at an early stage in is history, and it was a book which was frequently found in the possession of lay people. This volume brings together 28 contributions dealing with the 800 years between the mid-eighth and mid-sixteenth centuries, a period in which the psalter was increasingly owned and used by the laity in the form of richly illuminated manuscripts. As early as the Carolingian period, the illumination of psalters went beyond a mere textual illustration, and developed a narrative iconography with biblical or hagiographical content, and it was largely this autonomous iconography which connected the Old Testament texts with the tenets of the Christian faith. Also the frequent scenes or cycles of King David do not present illustrations of the psalms, but rather of events told elsewhere in the Old Testament. Renderings of individual Christian believers can also be found from the Carolingian period onwards, and represent some of the most original achievements of fifteenth- and early sixteenth-century psalter illumination. This book includes an index of psalter references, a topographical list, 460 illustrations, and a register of some 800 manuscripts.
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