Attavante degli Attavanti (1452-c.1525), AN ILLUMINATED BORDER FROM A MISSAL OF POPE LEO X, illuminated manuscript on vellum [Florence, c.1520].
18 x 3 inches. A full-length border with three roundels depicting the Incredulity of St Thomas; the Resurrected Christ appearing to St Peter and the disciples on Lake Galilee; and the Supper at Emmaus, surrounded by putti and the Medici device of Leo X: a diamond ring with three feathers and motto 'Semper' (minor losses of gold and pigment to lower roundel). Mounted on burgundy velvet.
A striking fragment of what would once have been an imposing and sumptuous manuscript missal produced for Pope Leo X, illuminated by Vante di Gabriello di Vante Attavanti, also known as Attavante degli Attavanti. ‘The most famous and most representative artist of Italian miniature painting’ (M. Bollati, Dizionario Biografico dei Miniatori Italiani, 2004, pp.975-979), Attavante’s elegant, expressive style was influenced by the work of Domenico Ghirlandaio and Antonio Pollaiuolo. His first recorded work, dated 1483, is a missal produced for Thomas James, bishop of Dol-de-Bretagne. He would go on to produce several manuscripts for Matthias Corvinus, King of Hungary and the Medici family, among whom Pope Leo X, or Giovanni Lorenzo de Medici, a notable patron of the arts under whose reign significant progress was made in the rebuilding of St Peter’s Basilica and redevelopment of the Vatican rooms. The present cutting likely originates from manuscript A.I.3 or A.I.4 of the Sistine Inventory of 1714 (see E. De Laurentiis, The Lost Manuscripts from the Sistine Chapel, 2011, pp.331 and 369).
William Young Ottley (1771 - 1836), London; his sale, Sotheby's, London, 12 May 1838, part of lot 213.
Sir John Pope-Hennessy (1913-1994), New York.