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Model Book of Initials
Tuscany, Italy; ca. 1175
9 1/16 x 5 11/16 in. (23 x 14.5 cm)
The Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, MS 83-1972

This book, the earliest known set of pattern sheets for the decorated initials, affords a glimpse of the vital foundation that drawing provided for much painted work in the Middle Ages. The very existence of this pattern book, a genre hardly known prior to the twelfth century, speaks to the rise of the professional artist and a more systematic approach to book decoration.

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