MEDUSA, copy of a miniature from Boccaccio's De claris mulieribus, in the French translation, ILLUMINATION ON VELLUM
[?France, 19th-20th century]
210 x 160mm. Full-page miniature in an elaborately patterned gold frame. Medusa, enthroned as a young and beautiful princess before Athena transformed her into a monster, is surrounded by her attendants and signs of her wealth. The miniature is an exact and finely painted copy of one now in the Cleveland Museum of Art, cut from a Des cleres et nobles femmes now in the New York Public Library, Ms Spencer 33, illuminated in Paris c.1470 by a follower of Maître François. While in a British collection between 1874-1920, it lost twelve miniatures; a further eighteen were lost in the 1920s, probably in France (V. Branca ed., Boccaccio visualizzato, III, 1999, pp.50-60). The framing border has a different source in the leaf by the Master of the Ghent Gradual, Wildenstein Collection, no 187 (Paris, Musée Marmottan): G. Clark, Made in Flanders, the Master of the Ghent Privileges, 2000, col.pl.20. The appeal of the originals is preserved in this minutely detailed revival of illuminating techniques. (Flaking of grey paint, slight wear to edges).