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The Pentecost

Artist: Bohemian Master
(early 15th century)

Date: ca. 1414
Medium: tempera, gold on parchment
Dimensions: 151 × 157 mm
Classification: drawing
Inventory Number: 3107
Department: Prints and Drawings

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The Pentecost

The International Gothic of the 1400s conquered every important court in Europe. This was the golden age of Prague, the new capital of the Holy Roman Empire. Thanks to the lavish liturgy of the wealthy Czech monasteries, many magnificent codices were produced during this period. Made in 1414, the highly decorated, multi-volume Antiphonal and Gradual (collections of the texts and songs of the liturgy) of the Sedlec Monastery, near Kutná Hora have survived only in fragments. Only nine separate miniatures of the dismantled books come down to us; eight of these are preserved at the Museum of Fine Arts in Budapest. Framed with a golden border, this ‘S’ initial once stood before the psalm that introduced the Pentecostal prayers of the Antiphonal. Referred to as the Master of the Gerona Martyrology, the Prague illuminator masterly combined the observation of nature characteristic of contemporary French miniatures with the lyric sensitivity of the beautiful style and the graceful elegance of its ornamentation.

Text: © Zoltán Kárpáti, 2015