The present work belongs to a group of manuscripts which celebrated the Venetian Republic and its rulers. They were granted to individual Venetian patricians upon their election to highly ranked offices of state. After the tenure of their office ended, the patricians were given the manuscripts which were then kept in the family archive as an evidence of the distinguished service to the Republic served by their family member (see H.K. Szepe, ‘Painters and patrons in Venetian documents’, Bollettino dei Musei Civici Veneziani, 8, 2013, pp. 25- 41, and p. 34 for a discussion of Merli's work).
This illumination celebrates the civic virtue of Luca Michiel, Procurator of San Marco under the rule the Doge Alvise Mocenigo (1570-77). Michiel was celebrated by Francesco Sansovino as 'standing out among his peers for his military and civic virtue' (F. Sansovino, Venetia: Città Nobilissima et Singolare, Venice, 1581, p. 280).
We are grateful to Helena K. Szepe for her help in cataloguing this lot.