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Manuscript - Initial F, with Saint Francis dressing St Clare with the Franciscan habit
  • Initial F, with Saint Francis dressing St Clare with the Franciscan habit
    Morone, Domenico
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Initial F, with Saint Francis dressing St Clare with the Franciscan habit

  • Object:

    Manuscript

  • Place of origin:

    Verona (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1500 (illuminated)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Morone, Domenico (illuminator)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Water-based pigment and gold leaf on parchment

  • Museum number:

    4916

  • Gallery location:

    Medieval & Renaissance, Room 8, The William and Eileen Ruddock Gallery, case 10

In illuminated manuscripts there was usually a hierarchy of initials marking important divisions in the text. At this time these were added by specialist illuminators and rubricators in spaces left blank by the scribe. The more important initials might be historiated with a figurative picture ('istoire' being the term for a story) or contain miniatures of representations of the Saints. In Italy illuminated choirbooks and liturgical manuscripts contained large numbers of miniature paintings. Choirbooks in particular were produced in sets of many volumes (often more than thirty).

From the early nineteenth century onwards such choirbooks provided an easy source of images that connoisseurs eagerly sought to add to their collections of paintings. Manuscripts could be cut up to make them more marketable and pleasing to the collector. Single leaves survive, but also initials, as here, cut to shape.

The illuminations gathered by the South Kensington Museum in the nineteenth century represented a new kind of collection, which aimed to provide examples of medieval illumination for students to copy. From the beginning the Museum bought ready-made collections. A portfolio of cuttings from an Italian choirbook, from which this cutting comes, was acquired from J. & W. Boone in 1866.

Physical description

Cut-out miniature on a cusped panel of burnished gold. Taken from a choir book it shows St Francis with stigmata admitting St Clare into the Franciscan order in front of an altar in a church with green panelled walls and blue domed ceiling. St Clare's secular clothes lie beside her, and she is accompanied by a lay woman dressed in pink and blue, who is praying. The floral marginal decoration terminates in a jewel pendant with pearls.

Place of Origin

Verona (made)

Date

ca. 1500 (illuminated)

Artist/maker

Morone, Domenico (illuminator)

Materials and Techniques

Water-based pigment and gold leaf on parchment

Dimensions

Height: 37.5 cm maximum, Width: 24.3 cm maximum, Height: 200 mm miniature, Width: 155 mm miniature

Object history note

Attributed to Morone by H.J. Eberhardt (DBMI, 2004).This cutting belongs to a group of 11, illuminated by Morone, which came to the museum in 1866 from J. & W. Boone. This is certainly the most important cutting among this group. Probably part of a larger group that belonged to a Franciscan convent's antiphonary. Other examples from this antiphonary are in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (1975.1.2483) and the Berliner Kupferstichkabinett, Staatliche Museen, Berlin (629).

Historical context note

Data taken from notes compiled by Rowan Watson. The full text of the entry is as follows:

' Cat. 335 FRANCISCAN CHOIR BOOK; Italy, c. 1490 (4916, 4917, 4918.1, 4919, 4920, 4921.1, 4922, 4923, 4924, 4926, 4927)

335.1
4916 (MS 1029)
CHOIR BOOK
Cut miniature (St Francis with stigmata admitting St Clare into the Franciscan order in front of an altar; St Clare's secular clothes lie beside her, and she is accompanied by a lay woman praying) with floral marginal decoration terminating in jewels with pearls from a choir book, attributed to Domenico Morona (Hans-Joachim Eberhard)

Italy. c.1490
(370 x 240 mm) ; miniature 200 x 150 mm.

From an album containing 4916-4928 bought for £15 from J & W Boone 1866.
Pub: 1908 cat, 90; 1923 cat, 83'

Descriptive line

Miniature from a choir book, St Francis admitting St Clare into the Franciscan order, attributed to Domenico Morone, Italian, ca.1500

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Marinelli, Sergio and Paola Marini, eds. Mantegna e le Arte a Verona Venice 2006, pp. 313-315.
Dizionario Biografico dei miniatori italiani, Secoli IX-XVI, 2004, pp. 80-81: entry by H.J. Eberhardt

Labels and date

Miniature of St Francis receiving St Clare, Renaissance ornament, historiated initial with cherubs.
Illumination attributed to Domenico Morone
Northern Italy, c.1490s
From a portfolio bought by the Museum in 1866 from J. & W. Boone for £15 [1995]
ST FRANCIS ADMITTING ST CLARE INTO THE FRANCISCAN ORDER
About 1500
Probably by Domenico Morone (about 1442 - after 1518)

This cut-out miniature of the initial F
comes from a Franciscan convent and
once belonged to an illuminated choir
book. The praying fi gure is a laywoman,
perhaps the person who commissioned
the manuscript. St Clare was the founder
of the order of the Poor Clares, which
follows the spiritual rules of St Francis.

Italy, Verona
Watercolour on parchment,
with gold
Museum no. 4916 [2009]

Materials

Parchment; Pigment; Gold leaf

Subjects depicted

Church; Altar; Pendant

Categories

Images Online; Religion; Christianity; Manuscripts

Collection

Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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