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This lavishly illuminated Psalter — known to scholars as codex Berlin, Universitätssammlung 3807 — was thought to have perished at the end of World War II, and only a few black and white images of mediocre quality survived. But recently, after about six decades, this manuscript was discovered in the enormous depositories of the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia. Apparently, the Psalter was found in the ruins of Berlin in 1945 and brought to Russia as part of extensive reparations. At present, the manuscript legally is the property of the Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation and is deposited at the Hermitage Museum.
Yury Pyatnitsky, the Curator of the Hermitage’s Byzantine art collection, has exclusive access to the manuscript and has received official permission to produce a major publication on this manuscript, which will be of keen interest to scholars and readily accessible to the general public. Pyatnitsky and Kavrus-Hoffmann will present a comprehensive analysis of the Psalter’s extraordinary illumination and of its codicological and paleographic features. The authors’ analysis of this Psalter will be the first published work on this manuscript since 1933. They contend that this manuscript was executed in a Constantinopolitan workshop (ergasterion) in the last quarter of the eleventh century by an anonymous scribe and illuminator, both of whom executed several other manuscripts, mostly Gospels and Psalters, at least one of which was commissioned by the Byzantine Emperor Michael VII Dukas.