Parent Object
Explore Object
Creative Commons License

Initial "I" (Initium Evangelii)

Description Provenance Credit
Description Two confronted leonine or feline animals, viewed from above, and a profile winged dragon with a human face and foliate tail fill the shaft of this letter "I." The "I" is topped by red and green foliage and a frontal, bearded human face, which, although lacking a cross-halo, resembles depictions of Jesus in medieval art. The tail of the "T" includes a frontal, bearded devil-like face, painted blue and equipped with what appear to be horns. Perhaps the arrangement of figural and animal elements in this initial is meant to evoke the idea of spiritual struggle or the victory of Jesus, above, over the devil, below.
Provenance Priory scriptorium of Rochester Cathedral, England, 12th century [possible reference in catalog in Textus Roffensis, Rochester Cathedral Library Ms. A.3.5, fol. 230r; more certain reference in 1202 library catalog in British Library Ms. Royal 5 B.XII, fol. 2r]; Leon Gruel, Paris, before 1931 [mode of acquisition unknown, no. 1138]; Henry Walters, Baltimore, before 1931, by purchase; Walters Art Museum, 1931, by bequest.
Credit Acquired by Henry Walters

Download Image Add to Collection Creative Commons License

ca. 1130 (Medieval)
ink and pigments on cream-colored parchment of medium thickness
(Manuscripts & Rare Books)
Accession Number
H: 15 3/16 x W: 11 1/8 in. (38.5 x 28.3 cm)
Location Within Museum
Not On View


    Thumbnail: Initial "I" (Initium Evangelii)
    Zoom Out Zoom In Back to Details  
    Full Size: Initial "I" (Initium Evangelii)