Decorated initials by a known illuminator, Sano di Pietro.

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Missal leaf with decorated initials by a known illuminator, Sano di Pietro.

Siena, Italy,   c.1465.

Sienese easel painter and manuscript illuminator Sano di Pietro (1405-1481) was the head of a workshop that fulfilled the demands of civic and religious institutions in the city.  His production, technically always of a very fine quality, was rich in decorative effects and characterised by a brilliant palette.   His work as an illuminator is documented from the end of 1445 when he decorated a Psalter for Siena Cathedral.

Provenance:  The dimensions and style of this leaf almost perfectly match those of a missal in Bruce Ferrini, Catalogue 1 (1987), no. 45, Use of Rome, illuminated by Sano di Pietro and doubtless from Siena.

Recto: Rubrics in red and capitals touched in yellow. Original foliation “XXIII” in red pen. Text written in two columns in black ink on vellum in Latin in a precise, gothic script.  Three two-line decorated initials alternating in red with blue pen flourishes and blue with red pen flourishes and a number of similar one-line initials.  One three-line illuminated initial ‘F’ in blue, green, orange, pink  tan and white-lead penwork with acanthus leaves and bezants extending into the margin.   The initial is on a raised gold ground (the ground now worn).

Verso:   As Recto with another three-line similarly illuminated initial ‘P’ and three two-line initials.

Origin:  Siena, Italy.

Date:  c. 1465.

Content: The text is the end of a mass for the fourth Sunday after Pentecost, a mass for the fifth Sunday (with the initial ‘F’); opening of the mass for Septuagesima Sunday, with the rubric for the stational church of St. Lawrence Beyond the Wall (San Lorenzo fuori le Mura) (with initial ‘P’.).  Rubrics for the stational churches in Rome indicate those where the Pope traditionally held masses, mostly during Lent (see Notes).  Curiously, the initials indicate the Collects.

The illuminated ‘F’ on Recto begins the Collect for the 5th Sunday after Pentecost:

Familiam tuam, quaesumus Domine, continua pietate custodi: ut quae in sola spe gratiae coelestis innititur, tua semper protectione muniatur. 

(Preserve, we beseech thee, O Lord, thy family by thy constant mercy, that we who confide solely in the support of thy heavenly grace, may be always defended by thy protection.)

The illuminated ‘P' on Verso begins the Collect

Preces populi tui, quæsumus, Domine, clementer exaudi:ut qui juste pro peccatis nostris af´Čéigimur; pro tui nominis gloria misericorditer liberemur.

Graciously hear, O Lord, the prayers of thy people: that we, who are justly afflicted for our sins, may, for the glory of thy name, be mercifully delivered.

Condition:   Very good.  Some soiling in the margins, but clean and in very good order overall. A professionally repaired 15 mm. tear in the bottom margin. The leaf is unconditionally guaranteed genuine.

Size: Leaf: c.340x250 mm.  Archivally mounted, ready to frame. Please note that shipping is invoiced separately.

Notes:  Stational churches are those churches in Rome that are appointed for special morning and evening liturgical celebrations during Lent and Easter. "Station days" grew out of the early Christian practice of visiting the tombs of the martyrs and celebrating the Eucharist at those sites. By the fourth century it became a tradition for the pope to visit a church in each part of the city and celebrate Mass with the congregation.

The faithful would end their daily Lenten fast by gathering at a church, called the collect where they would be met by the bishop of Rome, the Holy Father. Together they would move through the streets while praying the Litany of the Saints. Once they arrived at that day’s station church, the pope would celebrate Mass for the local community.

The tradition continued until 1309, when the papacy moved to Avignon. Pope Leo XIII revived the tradition and it was fully restored by John XXIII in 1959.

Item No: MMI028

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