Object Image

Leaf from a Psalter with Historiated Initial (B): King David

Books of hours evolved from psalters, books that contained the Old Testament book of Psalms (sacred songs) for use in churches. Psalters also included calendars, prayers for the dead, and a specific group of prayers known as the Hours of the Virgin. By the 1200s, laypeople were requesting psalters without the cumbersome psalms, and thus the book of hours was born. This leaf contains Psalm 1, which begins with a large, decorated B containing an image of King David kneeling with a plucking instrument on the ground. The text says beatus vir qui non abit, or "blessed is the man."

Credit: Gift of Dr. Norman Zaworski...

c. 1450
Ink, tempera, and gold on parchment
45.7 x 34.3cm
Image and text: The Cleveland Museum of Art, 2023

Where you'll find this

The Cleveland Museum of Art
Permanent collection