Ingeborg Psalter, Northern France, ca 1195

Chantilly, Musée Condé, Ms. 1695. fol. 14v

The tree of Jesse, giving the genealogy of Christ from his ancestor Jesse (Isaiah), father of David, onwards, was a favorite motif in medieval art of the XI century. One of the most beautiful examples is the full-page miniature, le gesse in the Psalter of Queen Ingeborg. It is a masterpiece of French book-painting from the time of King Philippe-Auguste when the native French painting tradition was newly stimulated by elements of English and Byzantine art. In the history of book-painting, it belongs to the transitional period between the late Romanesque and the arrival of Gothic. In this, above all, the workshops in Northern France were pioneering.

This miniature of the tree of Jesse in the Ingeborg Psalter is a particularly well-balanced composition in which the elements are concentrated into the most important details and simplified. The portrayal of figures was also perceived in a new way.