ST JOHN THE EVANGELIST, in an initial I, on a part-bifolium from a Gradual, ILLUMINATED MANUSCRIPT ON VELLUM.
[Emilia, early 14th century]
346 x 316mm. On a recto of a bifolium, St John the Evangelist, standing, in a blue robe with pink mantle, holding his gospel, forming the letter I on a burnished gold ground, with foliate terminals of orange, green, pink and blue with white tracery extending into margins, five lines of text written in brown ink in a round gothic bookhand between four lines of music of square notation on a four-line red stave, rubrics in red, one-line initials of alternate red and blue with flourishing in the contrasting colour, foliation V & VI in blue and red on versos, guide words to rubrics in margins in brown ink (the bifolium has been cropped at upper edge, outer recto and verso slighly darkened, fading to some text, loss of some burnished gold, small tear to upper folio).
A FINELY PAINTED HISTORIATED INITIAL BY NERI DA RIMINI, the opening offertory for the mass of St John the Evangelist from a Gradual. One of the leading illuminators of the first quarter of the 14th century, Neri da Rimini (fl.1300-1322) was documented at work in Rimini in 1306 and signed several of the choirbooks he decorated. The subtle and sophisticated mingling of bright and pastel shades seen in this initial is representative of the experimental and innovative treatment of colour in his finest work. The decorative vocabulary and detailed modelling of the drapery is reminiscent of his Enthroned Christ in an initial A in Bologna (Museo Civico Medioevale, Ms 540, see F. Todini, Una Collezione di Miniature Italiane, I, no 2).