THE THRONE OF MERCY, historiated initial 'D' on a leaf from an ILLUMINATED GRADUAL ON VELLUM
505 x 359mm (the leaf); 110 x 120mm (the initial). The initial in red, yellow and ivory-white on a ground of blue; within, the Throne of Mercy showing God the Father supporting the Cross with the body of Christ, the sun and moon above, all against a ground of burnished gold; seven lines of music and text on recto and verso (minor loss of burnished gold below the moon). Framed.
Contemporary folio number 'XXV'. The initial opens the Introit for the first Christmas Mass: 'Dominus dixit ad me filius meus es tu' (The Lord said to me, you are my son).
Gaudenz Freuler has identified the present leaf as f.25 of a Gradual commissioned for the Dominican convent of Sant'Agnese di Valdipietra in Bologna (Bologna Museo Internazionale e Biblioteca della Musica Ms. Lit. 4), and grouped it with nine other excised leaves and cuttings from the same Gradual, including one in Montreal, Museum of Fine Arts, 62.1362 (see Italian Miniatures from the Twelfth to the Sixteenth Centuries, Milan, 2013, pp.190-204). The style of the illuminator -- the so-called Master of S. Agnese di Valdipietra -- shows the strong influence of Byzantine art and the 'primo stile' characteristic of Bolognese workshops of the 13th century. Freuler points to the evident compositional and figurative link with the Gerona Master, one of the most influential artists of his time. In addition to the Gradual for Sant'Agnese, the Master was also responsible for a series of other choir books for the convents of Sant'Agnese and Santa Maria Maddalena di Val di Pietra (Bologna, Ms. Lit. 1 and Mss. 519-521). Other initials by the illuminator of the present leaf include BL Additional MS 18196, f.24; Bologna, Mus. Civico, ms. 518, f.199; London, Victoria and Albert Museum, ms. 953 (803-1894); Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, 62.1361 and Munich, Staatliche Graphische Sammlung, Inv. No. 40068 40068.