Interpretive Resource

Turning the Pages:  Jacobellus of Salerno (active around 1270), Gradual Manuscript, about 1270

Turning the Pages: Jacobellus of Salerno (active around 1270), Gradual Manuscript, about 1270

Choir books were essential in guiding members of a monastic community through the Divine Office, a cycle of hourly and daily readings, hymns, and sung responses. The large scale and legible text and music enabled a group to sing together from a single book. Dominican nuns evidently used this choir book, an antiphonary. It features saints of the order like Peter Martyr, whose death at the hands of heretics is illustrated here; nuns wearing the Dominicans’ black cloak are prominent depicted in the margins.

Exceptionally, the name of the scribe and illuminator is known; he signed a sister volume from the same set in the J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles.



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