SOLOMON ADDRESSING GOD and the TRINITY, two historiated initials on leaves from a Bible, ILLUMINATED MANUSCRIPT ON VELLUM
[Paris, third quarter 13th century]
290 x 202mm. Two leaves from an illuminated manuscript bible on vellum, two columns of 47 lines written in brown ink in a small gothic bookhand between four verticals and 48 horizontals ruled in plummet, justification: 177 x 113mm, additional pair of horizontals for running headings, rubrics in red.
i) The first leaf with guide-word to title in brown ink, ?folio number 119 in red ink in upper margin, marginal additions underlined in red, letters of running headings and chapter numbers alternately of red or blue, two-line chapter initials of red and blue with flourishing of the contrasting colour, LARGE HISTORIATED INITIAL with Solomon before an altar praying to God above, in blue, pale pink, red, green and gold leaf, with horizontal extension incorporating scrolling foliage. CONTENT: Vulgate Bible: Chronicles II, Prologue to chapter III, verse 5.
ii) The second leaf with Psalm numbers in brown ink in outer margins, versal initials touched red, Psalm initials blue or red with elaborate and extensive flourishing of the contrasting colour, LARGE HISTORIATED INITIAL with the Trinity, similar to first leaf. CONTENT: Vulgate Bible: Book of Psalms: Psalm CVII, verse 9-14 to Psalm CXIV, verse 7.
LEAVES FROM AN UNUSUALLY LARGE BIBLE, PRESERVING THEIR EXTREMELY WIDE AND CLEAN MARGINS
The simplicity and style of these elegant and engaging illuminations suggest an association with works produced by the Johannes Grusch Atelier, as identified by Branner (see R. Branner, Manuscript Painting in Paris during the Reign of Saint Louis, 1977, p.83). This Parisian workshop, active from the late 1230s through to the 1260s, encompasses a diverse collection of styles, its ouput displaying constant variation and influences from illuminators belonging to other ateliers. Branner connects the work of one style from the Johannes Grusch atelier, perhaps closest to the present illuminations, with an illuminator from the Aurifaber Atelier. The examples cited from a St Maur Glossed Bible (BnF Latin 11547) in Branner (figs. 235 and 241, initials showing Job and Jude) to illustrate the influence of the latter on the Grusch painter contain similar features to the present initials. The compositions are simple and restrained, the figures uncrowded and surrounded by empty spaces. Also characteristic are the plain lines of gold bordering the initials, the delicate tracery detailing to the grounds and extensions, the drawing of the faces and their neat features. Furthermore, various stylistic features identified in the oldest dated work from the Johannes Grusch Atelier, the Rouen Cathedral missal (Rouen, Bibliothèque Municipale Ms Y-50 277, Branner, fig. 212), are evident in the present leaves. The figures are small and flat, their faces white with small features, the men with 'C-shaped' short-bearded chins. The ornament to the initials and their extensions is also similar, with vinescrolls that curl around themselves. (2)