Leaf from a Gradual for the Camaldolese monastery of San Michele a Murano thumbnail 1
Leaf from a Gradual for the Camaldolese monastery of San Michele a Murano thumbnail 2
Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
Prints & Drawings, Room 90, The Julie and Robert Breckman Gallery

Leaf from a Gradual for the Camaldolese monastery of San Michele a Murano

Manuscript Cutting
1392 -1399 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

This page from a Gradual (a type of choirbook) was illuminated by Don Silvestro dei Gherarducci for the monastery of San Michele a Murano in Venice. Don Silvestro was a monk of the Camaldolese Order, and worked in the monastery of Santa Maria degli Angeli in Florence in the late 14th century. Santa Maria degli Angeli was home to a number of scribes, painters and illuminators. They worked both for their own house and for other churches and even secular customers. Don Silvestro was active as a painter and illuminator in the abbey from the 1370s. This was not a full-time activity since he was sub-prior and then prior from 1398, both of which were demanding administrative posts.

The leaf contains an initial S for the beginning of the Mass for Pentecost. In the upper register, the Virgin prays with the Apostles as the Holy Ghost descends; in the lower, the elders of all nations (carefully differentiated by their costume) wait for enlightenment. Don Silvestro may have worked as part of a team, as some of the ornament appears to have been done by others.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Water-based pigment, gold leaf and ink on parchment
Brief Description
Leaf with historiated initial S showing the Pentecost, from a Gradual for the Camaldolese monastery of San Michele a Murano, Italy (Florence), 1392-1399.
Physical Description
Leaf with half-page historiated initial S depicting the Pentecost. In the upper register, the Holy Spirit descends on the Virgin Mary and apostles; in the lower register, the devout of every nation. This initial introduces the Mass of Pentecost. In the margin there is fleshy acanthus linked by long straight stems. The panel of text [S]PIRITUS DO[MINI] has highlights delicately executed in white, rather like pen-work flourishing.

The initial has been cut out, and then re-attached, secured by strips of scrap vellum pasted to the reverse.



Text: S[piritus domini replevit ], Introit, Pentecost; on verso, rubric: Dominica post Pentecostem, Ad missam introitus

6 lines (1 on verso) of music (Staves of 4 red lines, 36 mm) and text; square notation

Original foliation in red ink at the top of the page: LVIII.
Dimensions
  • Height: 575mm
  • Width: 400mm
  • Text block height: 420mm
  • Text block width: 265mm
  • Stave height: 36mm
Production typeUnique
Object history
Made in Florence at the convent of Santa Maria degli Angeli, for San Michele a Murano in Venice. Bought before 1863 when it was transferred from the Art Museum.

A duplicate number MS.965 was assigned to this object in error and was subsequently cancelled.

Seven fragments, whose date and place of acquisition are unknown, arrived at the South Kensington Museum by an early date; four (2868, 3045, 3074 and 3087) appear in a register recording the internal transfer from the Art Museum to the Library on 6 December 1863 of a group of 241 illuminations, and a further three are recorded in a similar transfer in 1874 (431, 432 and 434). The remaining thirteen cuttings (D.217 to 228-1906) were acquired on 22 June 1906 from Bernard Quaritch for a total cost of £60. Two of them depicting prophets were lost during the Second World War (D.220-1906 and D.223-1906).



Cuttings from the same set of graduals in the V&A collection: 431, 432, 434, 2868, 3045, 3074, 3087, D.217-1906, D.218-1906, D.219-1906, D.221-1906, D.222-1906, D.224-1906, D.225-1906, D.226-1906, D.227-1906,D.228-1906, D.229-1906.



This piece is part of a series of over fifty identified cuttings from two different graduals now distributed through various collections. Related cuttings are in: New York, Pierpont Morgan Library; Stockholm, National Museum; Berlin, Kupferstichkabinett; Paris, Musée Marmottan; Padua, Museo Civico; London, The British Library.
Production
Made at the convent of Santa Maria degli Angeli, Florence.
Subjects depicted
Literary ReferenceThe Bible (Acts 2:1-4)
Summary
This page from a Gradual (a type of choirbook) was illuminated by Don Silvestro dei Gherarducci for the monastery of San Michele a Murano in Venice. Don Silvestro was a monk of the Camaldolese Order, and worked in the monastery of Santa Maria degli Angeli in Florence in the late 14th century. Santa Maria degli Angeli was home to a number of scribes, painters and illuminators. They worked both for their own house and for other churches and even secular customers. Don Silvestro was active as a painter and illuminator in the abbey from the 1370s. This was not a full-time activity since he was sub-prior and then prior from 1398, both of which were demanding administrative posts.



The leaf contains an initial S for the beginning of the Mass for Pentecost. In the upper register, the Virgin prays with the Apostles as the Holy Ghost descends; in the lower, the elders of all nations (carefully differentiated by their costume) wait for enlightenment. Don Silvestro may have worked as part of a team, as some of the ornament appears to have been done by others.
Bibliographic References
  • Catalogue of illuminated manuscripts : Part II, Miniatures, leaves, and cuttings, by S.C. Cockerell and E.F. Strange (London: HMSO, 1908, 1st edition).p. 85.
  • Catalogue of Miniatures, Leaves, and Cuttings from Illuminated Manuscripts. Victoria and Albert Museum. Department of Engraving, Illustration and Design, by S.C. Cockerell and C. Harcourt Smith (London: HMSO, 1923, 2nd edition).pp. 77-78 (as Siena, 15th century).
  • George R. Bent, 'The Scriptorium at S. Maria degli Angeli and Fourteenth Century Manuscript Illumination: Don Silvestro dei Gherarducci, Don Lorenzo Monaco, and Giovanni del Biondo', in Zeitschrift für Kunstgeschichte 55. Bd., H. 4 (1992), pp. 507-523.
  • Mirella Levi d'Ancona, The reconstructed "Diurno Domenicale" from Santa Maria degli Angeli, Florence: Centro Di, 1993.pp. 29, 49, 55.
  • Kanter, L., B.D. Boehm et al. Painting and illumination in early Renaissance Florence, 1300-1450. New York, 1994.pp. 155-176.
  • Watson, Rowan. Vandals and Enthusiasts: Views of Illumination in the Nineteenth Century, London : Victoria and Albert Museum, 1995no. 6.
  • Gaudenz Freuler, Tendencies of Gothic in Florence: Don Silvestro dei Gherarducci (Florence: Giunti, 1997).pp. 453-521 (esp. pp. 475-486).
  • Watson, R. Illuminated manuscripts and their makers. An account based on the collection of the Victoria & Albert Museum. London, 2003.p. 92.
Other Number
965 - Cancelled number
Collection
Accession Number
3045

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record createdNovember 21, 2003
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