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Cut-out historiated initial V from a Gradual

  • Object:

    Manuscript

  • Place of origin:

    Florence (made)

  • Date:

    1392-1399 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Master of the Canzoni (illuminator)
    Gherarducci, Don Silvestro dei, born 1339 - died 1399 (illuminator)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    water-based pigments, gold leaf and ink on parchment

  • Museum number:

    3087

  • Gallery location:

    Prints & Drawings Study Room, level E, case I, shelf 77

This fragment comes from a Gradual made for San Michele a Murano, a Camaldolese monastery in Venice. Don Silvestro dei Gherarducci, who may have painted this initial, was a monk of the Camaldolese Order. He was based in the monastery of Santa Maria degli Angeli in Florence. The monastery was the home of a number of scribes, painters and illuminators in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. They worked both for their own house and for other churches and even secular customers. Silvestro dei Gherarducci (1339-1399) was active as a painter and illuminator in the abbey from the 1370s. Silvestro may have worked as part of a team, with some of the ornament done by others. Whether or not he painted all the miniatures in the San Michele a Murano Graduals has been questioned. Silvestro's assistant, the Master of the Canzoni, may have illuminated this initial V.

It is not known when these choirbooks were cut up. This initial was transferred from the Art Museum to the V&A in December 1863. Their acquisition by the Museum before 1863 is the earliest known indication that they had entered the trade. Others from the same manuscript were purchased by the Museum in 1906.

Physical description

Cut-out historiated initial V from a Gradual (IV-V Sunday after Easter) showing a young bearded Prophet holding a scroll.

Rubric: Com'. [Cum vene]rit Para[clitus], from Communion hymn for 4th Sunday; on verso V[ocem iocunditatis], Introit, 5th Sunday after Easter. Part of 2 lines of music (staves of 4 red lines, 37 mm) and text visible; square notation.

The initial is in blue, vermillion, green and brown-pink with foliations on a ground of burnished gold.

Place of Origin

Florence (made)

Date

1392-1399 (made)

Artist/maker

Master of the Canzoni (illuminator)
Gherarducci, Don Silvestro dei, born 1339 - died 1399 (illuminator)

Materials and Techniques

water-based pigments, gold leaf and ink on parchment

Dimensions

Height: 230 mm size of cutting, Width: 230 mm size of cutting, Height: 150 mm size of miniature, Width: 140 mm size of miniature

Object history note

The fragment comes from a Gradual made for San Michele a Murano, a Camaldolese monastery in Venice. Don Silvestro dei Gherarducci, who may have painted this initial, was a monk of the Camaldolese Order. He was based in the monastery of Santa Maria degli Angeli in Florence. The monastery was the home of a number of scribes, painters and illuminators in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. They worked both for their own house and for other churches and even secular customers. Silvestro dei Gherarducci (1339-1399) was active as a painter and illuminator in the abbey from the 1370s. Silvestro may have worked as part of a team, with some of the ornament done by others. Whether or not he painted all the miniatures in the San Michele a Murano Graduals has been questioned. Silvestro's assistant, the Master of the Canzoni, may have illuminated this initial V.

It is not known when these choirbooks were cut up. This initial was transferred from the Art Museum to the V&A in December 1863. Their acquisition by the Museum before 1863 is the earliest known indication that they had entered the trade. Others from the same manuscript were purchased by the Museum in 1906.

Historical context note

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

'3078 (MS 970)
GRADUAL (IV -V Sunday after Easter)
Cut-out historiated initial V (young bearded prophet holding a scroll, attributed by Levi d'Ancona to the Maestro delle Canzoni and by Kanter to Silvestro dei Gherarducci)

Rubric : Com'. [ Cum vene]rit Para[clitus], from Commumion hymn for 4th Sunday; on verso V[ocem iocunditatis], Introit, 5th Sunday after Easter

Italy (Florence). 1392 - 1399
(230 x 230) mm; miniature 150 x 140 mm.
Part of 2 lines of music (staves of 4 red lines, 37 mm) and text visible; square notation

Transferred from Art Museum, Dec. 1863
Pub: 1908 cat, 85; 1923 cat, 78 Levi d'Ancona, 1993 II, pp. 29, 49; Kanter 1994, p. 161-2 (Gradual 2, no.9)'

Descriptive line

Cut-out historiated initial V from a Gradual (IV-V Sunday after Easter) showing a young bearded Prophet holding a scroll.

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

'Painting and Illumination in Early Renaissance Florence, 1300-1450'; Kanter, Laurence B; (New York, 1994)
'The illuminators and illuminations of the Choirbooks from Santa Maria degli Angeli and Santa Maria Nuova and their documents'; d'Ancona, Mirella Levi; 2 volumes (Florence, 1993 and 1994)

Production Note

The attribution to Don Silvestro Gherarducci is by Gaudenz Freuler according to the Metropolitan Museum of Art catalogue, 1994 (information supplied by Anna Melograni)

Materials

Parchment; Pigment; Gold leaf

Techniques

Illuminated

Subjects depicted

Prophet

Categories

Manuscripts; Religion; Christianity

Collection

Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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