I concur with Stephen.
Saint Benedict stands on dry land; those troubling lines you see are
parallel and horizontal, and are a pretty effective way to convey to depth
to the landscape (such as it is).
I always assumed Benedict's robe was gathered/raised because he is holding
this weighty Bible aginst his person, and the folds of the robe help to
nestle it with respect and care.
I presume note is intended to be made of this, because the artist went to
the trouble of showing us the blessed man's undergarment.
As to the unfinished appearance of the illumination, I believe it is,
indeed, unfinished: It lacks the bottom outline of black.
THe Ecole intiative has other images from (what appear to be) the same
workshop. Look at the one for "St. Mark Writing"; the images share the same
background, treatment of the hands is the same, but the artist has given
Mark a more fully realized "frame."
Perhaps the artist could not resolve the intital within the given space;
even unfinished, it crowds the following line of text more than in the St.
----- Original Message -----
From: "John Wickstrom" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Wednesday, January 31, 2001 8:20 PM
Subject: Image of St. Benedict
> I was browsing the other day through the splendid Ecole Initiative
> collection of saints' images when I came across the following image of
> Does he seem to you to be standing in water or a stream holding up his
> garment? If so, I have never seen such an image of Benedict, nor can I
> imagine what in his legend would suggest such an image (the text being
> illustrated is the famous Vita of Benedict by Pope Gregory I. Anyone have
> any ideas on this?
> John Wickstrom
> Kalamazoo College