17 November 2004
MARIANO DEL BUONO, border cutting from an ILLUMINATED MEDICI MANUSCRIPT ON VELLUM
170 x 85mm overall. Lower border from the recto of a folio, a central medallion with the arms of the Medici supported by five putti within the family's emblematic diamond ring, to either side fleshy acanthus foliage of blue, pink, green and orange with burnished gold disks and infills inhabited by a goldfinch, a hare, two putti, two bearded heads, a lion and a spotted goat (small pigment losses and smudging, overpaint on shield).
This is an excellent example of the style of the Florentine illuminator Mariano del Buono (1433-1504), incorporating all the components that characterise his delightful and profusely populated borders. The lively and varied putti and animals can be matched in other manuscripts; the sedately positioned goat, for example, makes a frequent appearance (A. Garzelli, Miniatura fiorentina del rinascimento 1440-1525, Florence, 1985, ii, figs 677, 685 & 686). The foliage type of the present border seems to have been used by Mariano in liturgical manuscripts, and the size and two-column layout of the original folio suggest that it may have been from a Breviary. The diamond ring and coat of arms were not specific to any one member of the Medici family so that it is not possible to precisely identify the patron of the original manuscript; Mariano is known to have illuminated books for several of the Medici including Lorenzo il Magnifico and Piero di Lorenzo.
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