751. [Miniature - Germany]

Illuminated manuscript leaf from a Gradual.

[Lower-Rhine or Cologne, 1480-1520]

Miniature painting, vellum, text in red and black ink, gold-leaf, 47,5 x 35,3 cm (repaired hole in centre with loss of text, two small holes at lower half, stitched repair at right margin).

Fine manuscript leaf decorated on recto with beautiful illuminated initial "E", painted with blue and gold-leaf (11 x 10,5 cm). The initial contains a representation of the Annunciation inside a tiled room. The angel Gabriel holds a golden staff with a swirling banderole. The sitting Virgin has not yet noticed his presence as she is absorbed in prayer. The left margin of the recto is richly decorated with curling and playful acantus leafwork, with two birds. The foliage is occ. heightened with gold. A second illuminated initial can be found on the verso, where the letter "A" is formed by painted tree branches. Two comical male heads peak through the wooden branches with a forest in the far background. This kind of decoration, known as "Astwerk" is common in early sixteenth-century German architectural and sculptural ornament. The illuminated initials show an understanding by the painter of late fifteenth-century engravings such as those of Master E.S., Martin Schongauer or Israhel von Meckenem. In addition to these two initials, the folio also contains 4 other ornamental initials. A comparable manuscript is a Gradual from the Cistercian abbey of Altenberg (Universitäts- und Landesbibliothek Düsseldorf, D 35), which is decorated with very similar decorative marginal borders. With thanks to prof. dr. em. Eberhard König (Universität Berlin) for providing context for the folio. A more extensive (German) description is available on request.

€ 5.000 / 6.000

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