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CHRIST IN GLORY, in an initial B on a leaf from a choir Psalter, ILLUMINATED MANUSCRIPT ON VELLUM
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CHRIST IN GLORY, in an initial B on a leaf from a choir Psalter, ILLUMINATED MANUSCRIPT ON VELLUM

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CHRIST IN GLORY, in an initial B on a leaf from a choir Psalter, ILLUMINATED MANUSCRIPT ON VELLUM

[Florence, 1380s]
514 x 382mm (leaf), 128 x 138mm (initial). The initial, with staves of pink supporting curling acanthus leaves of blue and green, contains the seated figure of Christ blessing surrounded by a mandorla of winged seraphim, both the figures and initial are set against a ground of burnished gold. The acanthus continues into the margins to make up borders on three sides of the text. The leaves are of pink, green, blue, grey, yellow ochre and orange with infills and grounds of burnished gold, one leaf terminates in a bird's head. Two columns of 21 lines between four verticals and 42 horizontals, music of square notation on a four-line stave of red for antiphons, rubrics of red, one-line initials and Psalm incipit in capitals alternately red or blue with flourishing of the other colour, a two-line initial of blue with red flourishing into the margin opens the psalm on the verso (scratches on Christ's chest, raised hand and face with resultant pigment losses, much of burnished gold lost, creasing and wear to lower border and margins darkened and creased, lacking bottom right corner).

This leaf carries Psalm 109, Dixit Dominus domino meo, the first Psalm for Sunday Vespers followed, on the verso, by Psalm 110. It is a sister leaf to one sold in these rooms on 8 June 2005 (lot 2).

The bright palette, luxuriant foliage and various features of initial and borders are signature details of the work of the illuminator Don Simone Camaldolese. Originally from Siena, Don Simone was a Camaldolese monk at Sta Maria degli Angeli in Florence -- a monastery renowned for its scriptorium. His near contemporaries there were Don Silvestro dei Gherarducci and Lorenzo Monaco, who is thought to have been partly trained by Don Simone. His career ran from c.1378 to 1405. The choir Psalter represented by this leaf was a particularly fine example of his work and the careful and detailed handling suggest that it should be dated to the early 1380s, predating his move towards the simplification of form and execution that became increasingly characteristic of his later style.
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