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THREE CUTTINGS FROM AN ANTIPHONAL, in Latin, ILLUMINATED MANUSCRIPT ON VELLUM
These three delightful initials come from an Antiphonal illuminated by the Cremonese artist Baldassare Coldiradi, documented in Cremona from 1482-1484. The artist has an expressive style showing the strong influence of his Lombard predecessors: his figures are crisply modelled, their finely delineated features heightened by touches of white and their hair, especially in the case of the Magdalene, by fine wisps of gold. The palette is a deep, vibrant array of rich reds, greens and blues, and the folds of the robes confidently follow the contours of the figures. Provenance: 'From the Cathedral of Como' is inscribed in an early 20th-century hand on the verso of each cutting - this erroneous attribution (see Anna Melograni, 'Miniature Inedite del Quattrocento Lombardo nelle Collezioni Americane', Storia dell'Arte 82, 1994, 283-302) links the present cuttings to a group of other miniatures that are all stylistically attributable to Cremona in the second half of the 15th century, including British Library Additional 39636, ff.5-8, 11-12, 30-32 (though these are by a different artist). It is likely that all were brought from Italy by the Venetian abbot and art dealer Luigi Celotti (1759-1843). His sales of cuttings acquired during the Napoleonic invasion of Italy are often credited with starting collecting in this field. By the same artist, and belonging to the same manuscript are Free Library of Philadelphia, Lewis E M 71: 1a-c and Oberlin, Allen Memorial Art Musem, 1943.17.