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The Crucifixion, in the Huth Psalter

The Crucifixion, in the Huth Psalter

Medium: Ink and pigments on vellum

Date: 1280

Shelfmark: Additional MS 38116

Item number: f.11v

Length: 23.7

Width: 14.4

Scale: Centimetres

Genre: Illuminated manuscript

Named for its donor, the Huth Psalter reveals its origin by listing in its calendar of feasts and litany Saints Hugh, Wilfrid, and John of Beverly?all associated with Lincoln or York. Medieval psalters could be used publicly in the liturgy or privately as a prayerbook, with decoration, calendar and added prayers tailored for the use of an individual or community. Unusual features of its illumination give vivid impressions of contemporary concerns and devotional practices. The Crucifixion compresses the sufferings of Christ into one image: the crowning with thorns, nailing to the cross and spearing the side take place at once, facilitating devotional identification with the ultimate martyr. The sorrowing Virgin and St John act as intermediaries by stepping out of the frame. Christian orthodoxy is expressed by conspicuous depiction of believers as fair-haired northern Europeans, contrasting with caricatures of Jews.

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