Leaf from an Antiphonary: Music for the Office of Matins
34 7/16 x 25 5/16 in. (87.4 x 64.3 cm)
Medium and Support:
Black and colored ink, vellum
Transfer from the Study Collection
Location: Not currently on view
The early Christian church continued the ancient Jewish practice of reciting prayers at predetermined hours of the day and night. Called the “Divine Office” or the “Liturgy of the Hours,” it consists of psalms supplemented by hymns and readings. Together with the Office of the Mass, this repetitive daily cycle constitutes the official public prayer life of the Roman Catholic faith.
This decorated page is a leaf from an antiphonary, which is the volume containing the antiphons, or responses, and verses sung at the services of the Divine Office. The page is large and the text clearly written so that the choir could read from a single page. The smaller red text on this leaf, an abbreviation of the Latin words ad matutinum invitatorum, indicates that what follows is the music to begin the Office of Matins, celebrated at either midnight or 2:30 am.
[Gallery label text, June 2013]