Stuttgart, Württembergische Landesbibliothek, HB II 24

Landgrave Psalter Facsimile Edition

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The Landgrave Psalter is one of the masterpieces of early Gothic illumination. Preserved since the early 19th century by the Landesbibliothek in Stuttgart, its name derives from the nobleman who commissioned it, Landgrave Herman I of Thuringia and Hesse, who is often cited in the book, especially among the litanies and intercessory prayers. The depictions of Herman and of his second wife Sophie of Wittelsbach take up a large portion of the 'gallery of portraits' that accompany the Litany.

The Landgrave Psalter: a Book Fit for a King

Herman of Thuringia (r. 1190–1217) is often deemed to have been a heartless leader, but also a magnanimous supporter of arts and sciences. A deeply learned man,  his court at Eisenach was a gathering point for artists and scholars. The distinctive role Landgrave Herman played during his lifetime is underlined by this Psalter, which can be referred to as a downright masterpiece, both from an artistic and a technical viewpoint.

Lavish and Exceptional Illuminations and Initials

The text's mise en page and layout are fully compliant with the usual structure of Psalter manuscripts. The main part – the Psalterium Gallicanum – is followed by a Calendar, Canticles, the Litanies of Saints, and an Office of the Dead. The Landgrave Psalter's pages are either decorated with full-page miniatures or with amazing chapter headings. Each majuscule initial is painted gold and further embellished by means of blue foliage motifs. Various Psalms also bear skilfully executed interlaced initials, some of which even occupy half page. Each of them features unique decorations that in many cases do not seem to have been modeled on pre-existing material.

A Rare 'Real Life' Calendar

The manuscript's Calendar is as exceptional as the illuminations themselves. Each month occupies a single page, while the list of days is flanked by a portrait of an Apostle who is seen as the patron saint of that particular part of the year. Above the portraits, 'real-life scenes' of farmers and fields aid the reader in identifying the month in question. The artfully penned characters, their different color shades and tone nuances, but also the opulent use of gold, are all features that make the illustrative cycle of the Landgrave Psalter an ostentatious exercise in book decoration.

We have 1 facsimile edition of the manuscript "Landgrave Psalter": Der Landgrafenpsalter facsimile edition, published by Akademische Druck- u. Verlagsanstalt (ADEVA), 1992

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Manuscript book description compiled by Facsimile Finder Staff.
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Der Landgrafenpsalter

Graz: Akademische Druck- u. Verlagsanstalt (ADEVA), 1992

  • Commentary (German) by Heinzer, Felix; Kroos, Renate; Schreiner, Klaus; Schwind, Fred; Trost, Vera
  • Limited Edition: 480 copies
  • Full-size color reproduction of the entire original document, Landgrave Psalter: the facsimile attempts to replicate the look-and-feel and physical features of the original document; pages are trimmed according to the original format; the binding might not be consistent with the current document binding.

Facsimile and commentary volume (146 pp.) in a solid slip case.



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