April 24, 2009
Single leaf from a choir psalter and hymnal:
Initial C with God the Father, Vespers in Advent Season
Venice, Italy, 1490-1500
Parchment with ink, paint, and gold
This initial begins the introit for Vespers in Advent: “Conditor alme syderum…” (Creator of the stars of night). The melody for this chant is a standard one, and Conditor is one of the most beloved chants from the Middle Ages. It is even today regularly performed and recorded for Advent services. The chant dates to the seventh century and can be found in many current hymnals.
The painting has been attributed to Giuglielmo Giraldi, who was active from 1445-1490. Giraldi was the son of a tailor who became one of the premier illuminators of the Renaissance period among the most prominent ruling families of Italy. He illuminated a copy of The Divine Comedy for Duke Federigo da Montefeltro, and was one of the artists involved with the Bible of Borso d’Este, perhaps the most costly and lavish book in the history of Ferrarese art.
Free Library of Philadelphia Lewis E M 70:5