"Crucifixion", historiated initial "T", fragment from a French Missal, 28.140, ca. 1400, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.
On occasion of Good Friday, we present today the beautiful illumination above.
The scene of the Crucifixion is historiated into an initial "T". The shape of the cross, naturally similar to that of the letter, is thus perfectly inscribed into the central "T". The two "branches" of the letter define two more sections, hosting respectively the Virgin Mary and Saint John. The whole scene is painted in muted flesh tones and shades of grey, leaving the spotlight to the vivid blue of the letter and ground as well as to the rich checkered pattern in the background.
The use of shades of grey reflects a style of Parisian taste which was popular around 1400; the script on the back of the page, however, is more in style with the Italian school of the same time. Avignon, in the south of France, represents the ideal artistic center where French and Italian artists may have collaborated.