21 November 2012
THE AGONY IN THE GARDEN, initial 'D' cut from an ILLUMINATED MANUSCRIPT CHOIRBOOK ON VELLUM
[Emilia Romagna, c.1500]
218 x 213mm. The initial of renaissance forms and foliate terminals against a burnished gold ground is framed by a jewelled surround that seems likely to be a 19th-century addition, four lines of text and one of music on the verso (tiny losses to the tree behind Christ, small areas of retouching at the hem of his mantle and the mantles of two of the sleeping disciples, the blue elements of the initial staves repainted).
The complex combination of forms and exuberance of the initial show it to be the work of an illuminator influenced by the workshop of Giovanni Battista Cavaletto (c.1460-1530). The scene within the initial, however, differs from the style of the Cavaletto himself in the detail and sensitivity of the evocation of the sunset sky and landscape, the attenuated figures and the delicate precision of the painting of Christ: U. Bauer-Eberhardt, 'La bottega di Giovanni Battista Cavalleto e i graduali de Rinaldo Graziani da Cotignola a Bagnacavallo', Corali miniati di Faenza, Bagnacavallo e Cotignola, ed. F. Lollini, 2000, pp.107-17.
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