The Trinity, Rosary of the Virgin Mary,1524



A leaf from from the Rosario de la Gloriosa Virgine Maria by Alberto da Castello 

- a block-printed Rosary book.


Verso:  A woodcut in the style of the High Renaissance of The Trinity enthroned, surrounded by angels.  God the Father, God the Son and the Holy Ghost in the form of a dove are depicted on a throne surmounted by a crown. Christ is shown with stigmata and his Holy blood, or Holy water, flows from a fountain to a chalice which is reverently worshipped by clergy.   Floral border panels and gryphons at either end of the words Pater Noster (Our Father).  The scroll heading, which is continued on the gloss, is in Italian - Contemplation of the glory of the most Holy Trinity.   See images below


Recto:   The gloss, in Italian, for the previous woodcut is on the back of this image.  A photocopy of the relevant text for this image is included with the leaf.  See image below


Source:  Venice    Date:  1524    Printers:  M. Sessa & P. Ravani


Condition:  This leaf is in very good condition.  The margins are original as the images were imprecisely placed on the paper.  Apart from some minor edge browning, the image is clear.  The leaf is unconditionally guaranteed genuine.


Notes:  During the 12th century, popular love for Mary inspired Europeans to begin using their paternoster beads to pray to her, with what gradually evolved into the ‘Hail Mary’ that is prayed today.  Over time, phrases and meditations on miraculous events from the lives of Jesus and His mother were added to the ‘Hail Marys’, and so this form of prayer became known as the ‘Psalter of Our Lady’, or the ‘Marian Psalter', the basis for the block-printed “Rosarium” - the Rosary of the Virgin Mary.

In the still predominantly oral culture of the late 15th century the visual media of the day - block prints, painted or carved altarpieces and devotional panels - played an essential role in the dissemination of religious teachings.  At the beginning of the Renaissance, European males had a literacy rate of about 5 to 10 percent, while female literacy was about 1 percent, although these figures varied based on social class and location.  To those unable to read well - or unable to read at all -  the printed rosary book served as a device for prayer and meditation.  Picture rosaries had the unique advantage of being able to be “read” in any language and by users who were not literate in Latin or even in the vernacular.

Size:  Size of leaf: approx. 140x100 mm. Printed area : approx.  140x85 mm.  Mat size: approx. 315x260 mm.  Presented in a museum quality mat, ready to frame.  Certificate of Authenticity.  

Packing & registered, insured post within Australia: $22.50.  Overseas destinations: ask for quote.


References:  Brunet IV 1390;  Bohatta, Rosarium, 32;  Essling 2125;  Sander 6573.


Item No: PSA 032


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