AN ILLUMINATED MANUSCRIPT LEAF WITH A SMALL MINIATURE OF THE STONING OF SAINT STEPHEN, FROM A BOOK OF HOURS IN LATIN.
TEXT FROM THE SUFFRAGES OF THE SAINTS.(Paris, ca. 1440). 121 x 89 mm (4 3/4 x 3 1/2"). Single column, 15 lines of text in an especially fine gothic book hand.
Attractively matted. Rubrics in red, recto with a one-line initial and two line fillers in colors and burnished gold, both sides with a two-line "D" in blue or pink and burnished gold (the capital on the recto with emanating marginal embellishment of gilt ivy leaves), the recto with a swirling quarter panel border featuring flowers, leaves, strawberries, and many burnished gold ivy leaves on hairline stems, the verso with a three-quarter panel border of similar design, though more lavish (and with a vertical bar of red, blue, and burnished gold between the text and the border in the fore margin), verso also WITH A SMALL, EMOTIONALLY CHARGED MINIATURE OF THE STONING OF SAINT STEPHEN (measuring approximately 25 x 29 mm.), the youthful proto-martyr dressed as a deacon with a pink tabard over his white gown, his two attackers depicted as fops wearing short tunics and parti-colored leggings, the scene set in a grassy meadow dotted with small trees, behind which rise the walls of Jerusalem with tiny golden clouds floating above. In very fine, especially bright condition.
In Acts of the Apostles, Stephen alarms the Jews with his preaching that the true temple is in the heart. He is charged with blasphemy, for which the penalty is stoning. Execution must take place outside the walls of Jerusalem, and Stephen is here shown in the countryside, his hands joined in prayer, submitting quietly to his destiny as the first of Christ's followers to be martyred. Since Stephen was not one of the canonical 12 Apostles, he was considered to be a deacon, and is dressed here in attire appropriate to that office in the 15th century. (ST11459-144)