c 1460 Missal Leaf - Sano di Pietro - St. Stephen


Original leaf from a Medieval  Missal. Two columns (29 lines each) of Latin text, written in rotunda script in black and red on animal parchment. (340 x 250mm - 13.6 x 10") Large initials alternately in blue and red with extensive fine pen-scroll tracery in blue and red extending to the margins. 

Italy (probably Siena) c. 1460.

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 ''D'' depicts St. Stephen holding a book. Stephen is the patron saint of deacons.

The two-line illuminated ''E'' begins Psalm 118 (King James 119) 23: ''Eternim...'' (For princes sat, & spoke against me: but thy servant was employed in thy justifications).

The historiated initial ''D'' begins ''Da nobis…'' (Grant us, we beseech thee, O Lord, to imitate what we venerate, that we may learn to love even our enemies; for we celebrate the birth to life everlasting of him who knew how to plead even for his persecutors even unto Lord Jesus Christ, thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with thee.…).

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 and 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 archival 20x16'' mat.

  • Inventory# IM-8818