Original 15th century Missal leaf: Italy (probably Siena) c. 1460. Executed by hand in manuscript calligraphy on animal parchment. (340 x 250mm - 13.6 x 10").
Two columns (29 lines each) of Latin text, written in rotunda script in black and red; large initials alternately in blue and red with the largest initials having extensive fine pen-scroll tracery in blue and red extending to the margins.
Attributed to the great Sienese artist & panel painter Sano di Pietro (1405-81) & his workshop – a style readily recognizable, not only by the finely modeled faces, but also by the marvelous illuminations inhabiting his borders!
The five-line historiated and highly illuminated initial ''E'' depicts a young St. John the Evangelist – holding a quill in his right hand, and a book in his left. This illuminated miniature extends into the margin in colors of blue, orange, green, pink, red and burnished gold!
The illumination begins ''Ecclesiam tuam…'' (Mercifully, O Lord, enlighten thy Church…). The two-line ''Q'' begins Ecclesiasticus (Sirach) 15:1-6: ''Qui timet…'' (He that feareth God, will do good…).
Provenance: From a Missal made for a bishop, with his arms depicted elsewhere in the manuscript. Sold by the Andulusia Foundation at Christie’s NY, 16 May 1986, lot 213, subsequently dispersed.
The finely modeled faces in rich color & gold are redolent of Sano di Pietro’s work & the closest parallels are to a Gradual illuminated by him for the Piccolomini family (Siena, Piccolomini Library cod.17.11).
Presented in an archival 20x16'' mat.