19

Details & Cataloguing

Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts

|
London

The Three Maries at the Sepulchre, very large historiated initial from an Antiphoner, in Latin [Italy (Bologna), c.1310]
cutting, 245x165mm, vellum, initial ‘A’ for the Easter antiphon ‘Angelus domini descendit de celo’, the recto with remains of 3 lines of text and music on four-line red staves, rastrum 50mm, with part of the antiphon ‘[Ego dormivi et somnum coepi et re]surrexi quia / [domi]nus susce/[pit me] alleluia’, small losses of gold from haloes of angel and Virgin, a few other small pigment losses, smudges or marks, trace of a cut in upper part, overall in good condition
Read Condition Report Read Condition Report

Catalogue Note

AN EARLY WORK BY NERIO DA BOLOGNA 'THE STRONGEST ARTISTIC PERSONALITY IN BOLOGNESE ILLUMINATION' IN THE FIRST DECADES OF THE 14TH CENTURY, WHEN THE LOCAL STYLE STILL SHOWED STRONG BYZANTINE INFLUENCE

Sold at Christie’s, 7 June 2000, lot 3 (col.ill.); subsequently owned by Robert J. Parsons, and exhibited at the Nasher Museum, Duke University, Sacred Beauty, 2009, reproduced on catalogue front cover.

This monumental painting is attributable to the celebrated Bolognese illuminator NERIO DA BOLOGNA, with his distinctive muted palette dominated by greens, browns, and dark blue, and his manner of depicting foliage as clusters of non-overlapping leaves. On the artist see A. Conti, La miniatura bolognese, 1981, pp.63-5, and M. Bollati (ed.), Dizionario biografico dei miniatori italiani, 2004, pp.820-21. The red skin-colour and white garment of the angel, features found mainly in 12th- and 13th-century illumination, is derived from the text of Matthew 28:3, 'His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow’ (cf. A. Petzold, ‘His Face Like Lightning', Arte medievale, 6, 1992, pp.149-55).

The composition seems dependent upon the initial of the same subject (but with Christ Rising from the Tomb in the upper half) in the Fondazione Cini that is usually dated around 1300 (G. Mariani Canova, Miniature dell'Italia settentrionale nella Fondazione Giorgio Cini, 1978, no.5; M. Medica, Duecento, 2000, no.124 (col.ill.)). Nerio used a very different iconography for the same initial about a decade later, with the Maries at the Sepulchre in the upper half (the angel without red flesh), and the Appearance of Christ to the Maries in the lower half (reproduced in B. Boehm, Choirs of Angels, 2008, fig.42).

Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts

|
London