Exceptional historiated illuminated initial from a Gregorian chant leaf on parchment depicting The Pentecost.
Netherlands, c. 1500.
Outside dimensions: 120 x 130mm – 4 ¾ x 5 1/8 inches
Excised from a Choirbook, with evidence on verso of text and music on a four-line stave.
The dramatic miniature painting by The Master of the Dark Eyes depicts the Blessed Virgin Mary in blue robes and seated on a throne framed with architectural columns. The disciples sit in front and to her right and left – some gazing at her, some looking above and one looking directly at the reader. The Holy Spirit, in the form of a white dove with golden rays and emanating red flames hovers above. The miniature painting is framed within a intricate design of golden branches and acanthus leaves which make up the letter “G” The initial rests within a golden frame on a green ground.
Reference: K.H. Broekhuijsen, Masters of the Dark Eyes, Late Medieval Painting in Holland, Brepols 2009 “…The most prolific Dutch book illuminators, the so-called Masters of the Dark Eyes, named after the most conspicuous aspect of their style: the dark, heavily accentuated shadows round the eyes of the figures. With their elaborately illuminated manuscripts, these masters completely dominated book production in the County of Holland during the late fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries. Their work is characterized by an overwhelming wealth of decorative and pictorial richness...”