Tree of Jesse

illumination (30 × 20 cm (folio)) — c. 1200 Museum Musée Condé, Chantilly

This work is linked to Isaiah 11:1

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Gothic. Anonymous. Tempera and gold on parchment.

It is a folio (14v) from the Ingeborg Psalter, a book with psalms that was made in northern France around 1200 for Ingeborg of Denmark. She was the wife of the French king Philip II.

The Tree of Jesse shows Christ's family tree. Lying at the bottom is Jesse, the father of king David. The tree seems to grow out of his body. The figures in the centre are Abraham (with a vielle), David (harp), Mary (book) and Jesus. The inclusion of Abraham probably refers to Matthew 1:1, "the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham".

The three figures to the left, in ascending order: Malachi, Daniel, Isaiah. These prophets all hold scrolls. To the right, the prophet Ezekiel also holds a scroll. The figure below him is Aaron, holding his staff. Above Ezekiel is a female figure, the Cumaean Sibyl. In the Middle Ages she was considered a prophet of the birth of Christ.

Below the painting is the text "Le gesse", probably old French.

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