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Crucifixion, The Arundel Psalter f.52v

Crucifixion, The Arundel Psalter f.52v

Medium: Ink and pigments on vellum

Date: 1075

Shelfmark: Arundel MS 60

Item number: f.52v

Length: 30.1

Width: 19.1

Scale: Centimetres

Genre: Illuminated manuscript

Probably made at Winchester, although it is not certain by or for which religious house there, the Arundel Psalter seems to have been a personal prayerbook. Throughout the middle ages, the Psalter was used for church services and as a personal prayerbook. Individualistic choices of saints for its calendar as well as Old English glosses on the Latin text suggest this one was made for private prayer. The Arundel Psalter's decoration was created in two phases, about mid-century and last quarter of the century. This Crucifixion belongs to the later phase. It resembles later 11th-century Norman and northern French manuscript illuminations in its style and also in the symbolism incorporated into it. The two trees on either side of the cross represent the two trees of paradise, the tree of knowledge of good and evil and the tree of life, referring to the fall of mankind from which the Crucifixion was supposed to attain salvation. Time is expanded to future as well as past with the inclusion of the symbols of the four evangelists (man, lion, ox, eagle), associated both with the conversion of the world to Christianity and the end of the world because they appear in the Book of Revelation.

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