The recto of this leaf contains the final part of the Book of Genesis (50:10-25), while the large historiated initial H marks the beginning of the Book of Exodus. The second book of the Bible describes how the enslaved Israelites fled Egypt to travel to the ‘promised land’ Canaan.
Within the initial H, formed by a stylized dragon, God, with a golden halo, is seated on a golden throne. He extends his raised hand and speaks to four men standing before him – likely referring to Exodus 3:20: “For I will stretch forth my hand”.
This is one of six companion leaves, one of which is available at Dr. Jörn Günther Rare Books. Stylistically, this miniature and its companion leaves originate from the exciting trend of Italian illumination that was highly influenced by Byzantine art. The figures, with their green undertones, have remarkably delineated faces; their noses and eyebrows connect to form the dominant contours of the face and are then further highlighted with lines of pure white. After placing the eyes and delicately stroking the lips, the faces are finished with a circular dab of a pale red on the cheeks.
One associates the artist who illuminated these leaves with the generation of Bolognese masters who created the Primo Stile Bolognese in the second half of the 13th century. This style, known for echoing Byzantine traditions, is quite commonly found in the Bibles from Bologna.
Also have a look at one of the known sister leaves.