Psalter (MS Ludwig VIII 2)


Würzburg was the site of an active workshop of professional illuminators around the middle of the thirteenth century. Working for monasteries and nobility, Christians and Jews, these lay painters were familiar with slightly earlier, aristocratic works like the “Arenberg Psalter.” Although the intended recipient of this deluxe book of Psalms remains unknown, it counts among the earliest and most lavish products of the workshop. Featuring the opening words of Psalm 1 spread across two pages, the double frontispiece begins with a large letter B at left, in which Christ sits enthroned above a seated King David, who is flanked by musicians. Unusually, the facing page presents the remaining letters in a golden grid, enhancing the sacred text.

Psalter, in Latin
Germany, Würzburg, ca. 1240–50
J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, MS Ludwig VIII 2, fols. 11v–12r
Purchased by the J. Paul Getty Museum, 1983