National Gallery of Art - THE COLLECTION
image of Manuscript and Miniature Manuscript and Miniature
Rendered by Albert Levone (artist), c. 1937
watercolor, colored pencil, pen and ink, and graphite on paperboard
overall: 30.6 x 24.2 cm (12 1/16 x 9 1/2 in.) Original IAD Object: L. OM 412; W OM 198 (?)
Index of American Design
1943.8.3364
Not on View
From the Tour: Pennsylvania German Folk Art from the Index of American Design
Object 21 of 23

Fractur is a term referring to a style of writing as well at to the illuminated documents on which it was executed. Brought to Pennsylvania by German scribes, fractur was an art form peculiar to the Pennsylvania Germans. Fractur writing was based upon the sixteenth-century fractur typeface, a loose imitation of bold, rigid Gothic lettering. In the German manner, fractur painting followed the tradition of medieval manuscript illumination. The fractur writer held several positions within the Pennsylvania German community. As the representative of learning, he was often the schoolmaster as well as clergyman. With his skill in drawing and writing, he performed such services as illustrating books and hymnals and drawing up important documents. This fractur is a hymnbook illustraion that commemorates the 100th Psalm. Bold lettering contrasts with lighter, more graceful forms. The decorative motifs of angels, tulips, and stars were hand-drawn and colored.

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