Third Mass for Christmas, December 25 (Lombardy, 1490-1510)
April 24, 2009
Single leaf from a gradual: Initial P with the
Adoration of the Christ Child
with the Shepherds, December 25
Lombardy, Italy – c. 1490-1510
Parchment with ink, paint, and gold
This image begins the Introit for the Third Mass of Christmas Day, “Puer natus est nobis et filius datus est nobis” (Unto us a child is born and unto us a son is given). An Introit for a Mass is the first sung portion of the Mass, signifying its start.
In contrast with the Austrian Nativity leaf, 65:7, there is much more detail and definition in this historiated initial P. Notice the folds in the robes of the figures, the vanishing point of the decrepit stable, and more realistic-looking faces, with light and shadow. Although this was only made twenty years or so after the Austrian manuscript, it is evident that the Italian style had already become far more advanced, as the Renaissance was well under way by this time.
Free Library of Philadelphia E M 71:14