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Illuminated Initial And Penwork Creatures, In St. Anselm's 'Similitudes' And Other Works

Illuminated Initial And Penwork Creatures, In St. Anselm's 'Similitudes' And Other Works

Medium: Ink and pigments on vellum

Date: 1225

Shelfmark: Cotton MS Cleopatra C XI

Item number: f.3r

Length: 19.9

Width: 13.5

Scale: Centimetres

Genre: Illuminated Manuscript

St. Anselm (c.1033-1109), archbishop of Canterbury, was a widely influential medieval philosopher and theologian, perhaps best known for formulating a theory which sought to prove the existence of God. In his 'Similitudes', also called 'Human Morals', he compares virtues and vices. Other texts in this volume include an account by Adam, monk of Eynsham, of a vision of purgatory and paradise experienced by his brother Edmund in 1196. The illustrations are exceptional because they usually attempt to illustrate abstract ideas, often in pairs, such as health and sickness, or strength and weakness. This manuscript belonged to the Cistercian Abbey of Dore, Herefordshire, by the 14th century, and it may have been written and illustrated there. Following the prologue, the main text begins with a relatively modest illuminated initial 'U'. Smaller initials alternate red with green flourishing, and vice versa. The flourishing extends into the lower margin into two dragon-like creatures, one with a king's head.

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