GKS 1605 4°: Psalterium





GKS 1605 4°: Psalterium

Parchment, "319" ff. (i.e. 318: 1-83 + "84/85" + 86-319), 21 × 14 cm; Flanders, 1500-1535

The core of the manuscript are the 150 psalms from the Old Testament followed by cantica, i.e. biblical hymns outside the Book of Psalms. It also contains a series of minor texts, including a Mirror of Conscience, Speculum Conscientiae; an exposure, in words and pictures, of the seven deadly sins, the ten commandments, the physical and spiritual acts of compassion and other central issues. A survey of the textual elements in the manuscript can be found here

The unique quality of the manuscript is not, however, related to the texts but to its artistic embellishment. Every single page has been decorated with minute pictures of flowers, fruits, insects etc, and at all major sections of the manuscript there is a full page painting, illustrating the text or purely ornamental. A survey of full page paintings can be found here

The manuscript turned up in Rosenborg Castle in Copenhagen in 1781, together with ten other manuscripts and other precious items. According to a contemporary report they were found in a chest that had not been opened since the days of Frederik III (king of Denmark 1648-1670). In November 1781 the manuscripts were handed over to the Royal Library

The major sections of the manuscript are indicated on the sidebar to the left. Bibliographic information on the manuscript can be found here

Erik Petersen