Letters representing "face" in Saint-Dié gradual
The Saint-Dié gradual is a liturgical book, a book of masse songs but does not contain any biblical text. The originality of this manuscript is the richness of its decorations. A multitude of decor, an abundant nature of flowers, hybrids, many small decorative initials, more than 2000 initials with letters representing a "face", watermarked letters, initials on golden background and drawing painted with humor.
These letters predominate at the beginning of the gradual. Several figures or animals combine and intertwine inside the same letter. The variety of these illustrated initials is very surprising, mixing the fantastic and the real.
This magnificent gradual calligraphed and illuminated by anonymous artists was paint on the vellum between 1494 and 1514.