Book of Treasures

Book of Treasures f. 19r, Jesse’s dream

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f. 19r, Jesse’s dream

One of the biblical themes popular between the 13th and 14th centuries—Jesse’s dream or tree—portrayed in illuminated manu­scripts, stained glass windows and murals, also found its way into the miniatures of the (f. 19r). In the initial letter and in stained glass windows, the ancestors of the Virgin are depicted vertically inside oval frames between the branches of the tree sprout­­ing from the body of the sleeping Jesse, and the entire composition is crowned by im-ages of the Virgin and Christ set inside succes­sive medallions. This theme is dealt with in a different way in the St Petersburg manuscript;the figure of Jesse fast asleep stretches the full width of a horizontal, gold frame. The majestic ancestors of the Virgin and Christ are depicted in the form of tiny crowned heads situated around the edge of the frame looking towards the figure of the Madonna standing upright. The diminutive heads at a 3/4 angle are set in-side round medallions formed by interwoven branches of Jesse’s tree. The head of Christ above the figure of the Virgin is on the same small scale as the heads of the ancestor kings, differentiated only by a cruciform halo.

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