From the newsletter, I´m sharing the explanation about two letters and the repurposing of one of them:
At times valued for their beauty, for their spiritual significance, or simply for the strength of their parchment pages, the books, leaves, and cuttings in this exhibition have been transformed again and again to suit the changing expectations of their various audiences and owners. By revealing the ways in which manuscripts have been repurposed both conceptually and physically, this exhibition explores their long and eventful history since the Middle Ages.
In this image, a male figure forms the letter I. His exact identity is unknown, but the presence of multiple instruments of torture identify him as a martyr. Notice the two large stones on his head, a sword through his neck, and a grill and fire at his feet. It was a common practice in the 19th century for collectors to trim away all traces of surrounding text in illuminated manuscripts, as here. Collectors mounted such cuttings into albums, allowing the viewer to concentrate solely on the imagery. -
At the center of this initial V, the apostles watch in wonder as Christ rises to heaven after his resurrection. The image was removed from a large choir book made for the Florentine monastery of Santa Maria degli Angeli, where the leaf's designer, Lorenzo Monaco, was also a monk. -