lewise8calendarlewise8bishop

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

lewise8maninmoon1lewise8gradual

 

 

 

 

Fragments from a gradual
Burgundy, France, ca. 1475

Script: Gothic bookhand

Parchment with ink and paint

Notation: Square

This book is a compilation of eighteen leaves taken from the same medieval gradual. It has been suggested that the pages are from the same Carthusian house in Dijon as the Morgan Library’s M. 115: the calligraphic decoration is quite possibly by the same hand.
The opening shown here is to a page of music with a facing page of a liturgical calendar. The music is from Psalm 78: “Attendite popule meus legem meam: inclinate aurem vestram in verba oris mei…” (Hear my law, O my people: incline your ears unto the words of my mouth). This text is used for the Masses for the Nineteenth through the Twenty-first Sundays after Pentecost. Two inhabited initials adorn the page: one is a caricature of a bishop wearing tinted glasses.

The facing page is an excellent example of a medieval liturgical calendar. It is graded: more important days or feast days are written in red ink; the rest are written in black. The red days are so-called “red-letter days,” and the term survives to our modern day. The KL at the upper left-hand side of the page is for the kalends of the month. Kalends was the term used by the ancient Romans for the beginning of the month, and the word calendar is derived from it. The columns on the left-hand side of the page contain the Golden Numbers, the Dominical Letters, and a countdown to the next month. Golden Numbers and Dominical Letters enable the medieval calendar user to calculate the date of Easter each year.

There is an added bonus in the post in that images have been added of the penwork on a page prior to the opening exhibited. The penwork includes a man in the moon.

Free Library of Philadelphia Lewis E 8

Link to larger image of gradual side of opening (verso).

Link to larger size of calendar side of page (recto).

Link to close-up of bishop grotesque.

Link to close-up of man-in-moon penwork.

Click on the image for a catalog record and higher resolutions.

Click on the image for a catalog record and higher resolutions.

 

Single leaf from a gradual:

Initial E with the Adoration of the Magi, January 6

Lombardy, Italy, 1490-1510

Script: Rotunda

Parchment with ink, paint, and gold

Notation: Square

 

This initial begins the introit for the Feast of the Epiphany: Ecce advenit Dominator Domine (Behold, He is come, the Lord the Ruler).

The leaf shown here has perspective and detail that is not displayed in earlier illustration processes. The Star in the East is prominent in the picture, as is one of the adoring kings, who is quite literally in the very center of the initial. However, attention is appropriately paid by all other figures in the foreground to the baby Jesus. There is a ship in the background, which might signify an escape plan: God warned them in a dream “that they should not return to Herod, they [should depart] into their own country another way” (Matthew 2:1). The initial is clearly a product of the early Renaissance period, as the artist has clothed the subjects of this decoration with heavy gowns and sleeves of the 15th century, donned the soldiers in the background with armor of that period, and painted a ship with a 15th-century gallery and mast.

Free Library of Philadelphia Lewis E M 71:15

 

Click on image for a link to a catalog record and higher resolutions.

Click on image for a link to a catalog record and higher resolutions.

 

 

Single leaf from a gradual: Initial E with the Adoration of the Magi

Northern Italy – c. 1400-1415

Script: Rotunda
Parchment with ink, paint, and gold

Notation: Square

 

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

Click on the image for a link to the catalog record and higher resolutions.

Click on the image for a link to the catalog record and higher resolutions.

 

Leaf from a gradual:

Initial I with St John the Evangelist, December 27

Perugia, Italy, ca. 1325

Script: Rotunda

Parchment with ink, paint, and gold

Notation: Square

 

This initial begins the Introit for the Mass for the feast of St. John the Evangelist (Dec. 27), “In medio ecclesie apperunt os eius…” (In the middle of the temple, [the Lord] opened his mouth). John is blessing a monk in this image.

What is particularly interesting about this leaf is its bas-de-page, featuring animals playing instruments.  There is no way for us to know what the full picture in the margin once was, as the leaf was cropped at some point (probably in the nineteenth century). Also, there is a catch word at the bottom of the page, where the scribe has doodled a border.  Catch words were used to line up the quires or gatherings of pages when a book was bound.  The word “spiritus” would have been the first word on the next quire, presumably.

This leaf is from the same manuscript as Lewis E M 72:16 (Assumption), also featured in this exhibition.

Free Library of Philadelphia Lewis E M 72:15

Click on image for a link to the catalog record and higher resolutions.

Click on image for a link to the catalog record and higher resolutions.

 

Single leaf from a gradual: Initial P with the

Adoration of the Christ Child

with the Shepherds, December 25

Lombardy, Italy – c. 1490-1510

Script: Rotunda
Parchment with ink, paint, and gold

Notation: Square

 

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

Michaelmas Sept. 29

March 16, 2009

Click on the image for a link to the catalog record and higher resolutions.

Click on the image for a link to the catalog record and higher resolutions.

 

Leaf from a Gradual:

Initial B with St. Michael Archangel Conquering the Devil, September 29

 

Belgium, Bruges, 1500

Script: Gothic

Parchment with ink, paint, and gold

Notation: Square

Illuminator (Artist): assistant of Cornelia van Wulfschkercke

 

This initial begins the Introit for the feast of St. Michael Archangel (Sept. 29), “Benedicite dominum omnes angeli eius …” (Bless the Lord, all you angels of his).  This leaf was illuminated by an assistant of Cornelia van Wulfschkercke, a nun at the Bruges Carmelite convent Sion who was active in the late 15th and early 16th century. 

The floral border is a scattered, strewn, or trompe l’oeil border.  This style became fashionable particularly in Flemish art around the middle of the 15th century. Many of these borders also included division lines, such as seen here, with alternating colors in the background.

The main decoration in this manuscript is an historiated initial featuring Michael the Archangel: however, there are a few examples of inhabited initials as well, with faces appearing in the B (benedic) and G (gloria). Michael is shown with typical attributes: scales weighing the souls of the departed, and a sword with which he impales a dragon.

Free Library of Philadelphia Lewis E M 66:14

St. Katharine, Nov. 25

March 16, 2009

Click on image for a link to the catalog record and higher resolutions.

Click on image for a link to the catalog record and higher resolutions.

 

Leaf from a Gradual: Initial U depicting St. Katharine, November 25 

 

Milan, Italy, 1395

Script: Rotunda

Parchment with ink, paint, and gold

Notation: Square

Illuminator (Artist): Tomasino da Vimercate

 

This initial begins the Introit for the Mass of the feast of St. Katharine of Alexandria (Nov. 25), “Vox de celis Katherine reditur veni sponsa gloriosa…” (The voice came back from heaven, ‘Come glorious bride’). Until his identity was determined by documentary evidence, the illuminator Tomasino da Vimercate was previously known as the anonymous Master of the Modena Hours after his most characteristic work in a book of hours now in the Biblioteca Estense in Modena, Italy.  Tomasino was active in Milan where he worked for ecclesiastical and lay patrons from ca. 1390 to 1415.

St. Katharine is shown wearing fashionable robes in the style of the fourteenth century, according to the date of the leaf. The wheel is the most common attribute to Katharine: her tormenters attempted to use a breaking wheel to break all the bones in her body and they were foiled in this exercise.  In her hand she holds a palm for her martyrdom; the crown on her head is a martyr’s crown. Katharine is the patron saint of all trades involving wheels, as well as education, libraries, and learning. 

Free Library of Philadelphia Lewis E M 72:8