The text of this leaf opens: Quotiens in sancti viri historia per novum volumen …, the beginning of Book 17 of Gregory the Great’s Moralia in Job. The text was originally written between 578-595. Each of the thirty-five books of the Moralia consists of a short passage from the Book of Job, which is then explained both literally and allegorically before receiving a moral explanation with respect to the consequences of the acts of men.
While the decoration of this bold and striking initial is common to much of northern and central Italy in the later decades of the 11th century, the interweaving white vine foliage which encases the initial’s tail and the tightly curled foliage with leaves serrated only on one side point to manuscripts produced in Rome and Florence in the midpoint of 11th century.
Read more about this artwork in our blog post.