Epiphany, January 6 (Northern Italy, c. 1400-1415)
April 24, 2009
Single leaf from a gradual: Initial E with the Adoration of the Magi
Northern Italy – c. 1400-1415
Parchment with ink, paint, and gold
This initial begins the Introit for the feast of Epiphany (Jan.6), “Ecce advenit dominator dominus …” (Behold, the Lord the Ruler is come). Here we have an example of more advanced technique in medieval art: there is a background and scenery with some perspective. There are out-of-scale heads over the hills in the background that are probably supposed to be shepherds in the distance, although they appear as garden gnomes carved into the side of a mountain perhaps, from our modern viewpoint.
The artist of this historiated initial is possibly a predecessor to Peronet Lamy, a Savoy artist who illuminated a full page miniature in the Morgan Library in New York, M. 180, a lectionary written by Johannes de Monterchio of Padua for Pietro Donato, bishop of Padua (1428-1447).
Free Library of Philadelphia E M 71:9