[Ferial Psalter, in Latin].
Illuminated manuscript on vellum.
Nuremberg, dated 3 February 1496.
This Psalter epitomizes the role that illuminated manuscripts played in late-medieval monastic worship. Designed for recitation during the Divine Office, the text distributes the 150 psalms over seven daily readings so that each psalm is recited once within the course of every week. A richly illuminated image of King David (exhibited here) introduces the first psalm, and similar large gilt initials mark the readings for the major liturgical feasts.
The manuscript is unusual in that the scribe’s colophon provides the place and date of its completion: “After the birth of Christ in the one thousand, four hundred, six and ninetieth year, on the day after Our Lady’s Day of Candlemas, this Psalter was finished in the Imperial city of Nuremberg, may God’s praise and honor be eternal. Amen.”