Chludov Psalter
Moscow, Historical Museum MS 129
folio 3r - David fleeing from Absalom's army

Byzantine, 9th century



Picture Source: Chludovský žaltár
David fleeing from Absalom's army, according to the title of Psalm 3



Chludov Psalter (Moscow, Hist. Mus. MS. D.129) is an illuminated marginal Psalter made in the middle of the 9th Century. It is a unique monument of Byzantine art at the time of the Iconoclasm, one of only three illuminated Byzantine Psalters to survive from the 9th century.

According to one tradition, the miniatures are supposed to have been created clandestinely, and many of them are directed against Iconoclasts. Many contain explanations of the drawings written next to them, and little arrows point out from the main text to the illustration, to show which line the picture refers to. The polemical style of the whole ensemble is highly unusual, and a demonstration of the furious passions the Iconoclast dispute generated.

The psalter measures 195 mm by 150 mm and contains only 169 folios. The outer edges of the pages are normally left blank in order to be covered with illustrations. The text and captions were written in a diminutive uncial script, but many of these were rewritten in crude minuscule about three centuries later. The book contains the Psalms in the arrangement of the Septuagint, and the responses to be chanted during their recitation, which follow the Liturgy of Hagia Sophia, the Imperial church in Constantinople.



Back to the Chludov Psalter, Byzantine, 9th century, Moscow, Historical Museum MS 129




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