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Prints to decorate manuscripts

Maiden with long, flowing hair and laywomans costume. [Germany, c.1500-20] [opens new window]

XYL-28.1 Maiden
Cutting. [Germany, c.1500-20]. Woodcut.

Maiden with long, flowing hair and laywomans costume, holding a leafy or flowering sprig in her outstretched left hand. The figure is likely to be a cutting from a larger, as yet unidentified single-leaf woodcut or incunable leaf. Like XYL-28.2 [Two lions], the cutting is an isolated piece of printing which has been integrated into the painted border decoration of a late fifteenth-century small-format prayerbook on parchment (124 x 90 mm), containing Latin and a few Middle Low German texts for the use of Cistercian nuns during the Easter period. Here the woodcut is integrated into the miniature as originally conceived by the artist.

A maiden is shown standing in a green field full of flowers and carrying a banderole with a rhymed Latin inscription Estuantes pro amo/re/ nos consperge dulci ro/re/. The context suggests that the maiden may be intended to represent the impassioned devout soul, the bride of God. It is associated with a speech spoken in a Latin Easter play, in which the bride addresses the risen Christ as her lover and bridegroom with the words Aduenisti desiderabilis O Jhesu dulcissime O dilecte my pulcherrime . . . (fols 141r-142r).

Provenance: Medingen, near Lneburg (Lower Saxony), Cistercian nuns, BMV. One of an extensive group of manuscripts made for this convent, all datable to the period 1470-1520.

Shelfmark: MS. Lat. liturg. f. 4, fol. 141v.