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Leipnik Haggadah, 1740

King David in a Jewish manuscript


Leipnik Haggadah

The Leipnik Haggadah, Altona, Denmark (now Germany), 1740. Psalm 116- 8–10

Dressed in magnificent finery, King David kneels in prayer in a sumptuous room in his palace. The harp leaning against the table and the book of Psalms open in front of him allude to his fame as a musician and Psalmist. The scene is imbued with divine light emanating from a bright cloud, which contains the words Ruah ha-kodesh (the Holy Spirit).

The text in square Hebrew writing above the image is from Psalm 116- 8-10. The text column on the left is the commentary of the Jewish scholar Isaac Abarbanel (1437-1508).

The 18th century witnessed a ‘renaissance’ of Hebrew illuminated manuscript art. This fine Passover Haggadah (ritual book for the eve of Passover) is the work of Joseph ben David of Leipnik, an influential 18th-century Moravian scribe-artist active in Hamburg and Altona. Between 1731 and 1740 he produced 13 Haggadot (the plural of Haggadah). Like other Haggadah manuscripts of that period, the miniatures in this one were modelled on the engravings in the 1695 and 1712 printed editions of the Amsterdam Haggadah.

British Library- Leipnik Haggadah

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