2 June 2004
THE STONING OF ST STEPHEN, bas-de-page from an illuminated choirbook on vellum
[Padua or Bologna, 2nd quarter 14th century]
69 x 190mm. Within a red frame and against a blue background, the saint in his red dalmatic kneels on the right praying to a rayed nimbus in the upper corner of the miniature, four tormentors dressed in tunics of red, pink or green pelt him with stones that strike his body and head. The martyrdom is watched by a seated figure in pink and blue robes who has the tormentors outer garments over his lap and feet, on the verso two sworls of red, green, grey, blue and pink acanthus are infilled with blue and surrounded by burnished gold disks.
The acanthus border on the back of this lively miniature shows that it was once in a lower margin, perhaps beneath a Feast of St Stephen in a choirbook. The expressive faces and the monumental quality of the seated and standing figures recall the style of Lando di Antonio, the Bolognese illuminator who painted the Mariegola for the confraternity of the Compagnia dei Lombardi in 1334 (Bologna, Compagnia dei Lombardi, cart.1), which was based in the complex around the Basilica of s. Stefano: Haec Sunt Statuta, Le corporazioni medievali nelle miniature bolognesi, ed. M. Medica, (1999), pp.122-123.
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