AN ILLUMINATED VELLUM MANUSCRIPT LEAF WITH A SMALL MINIATURE OF SAINT MATTHEW, FROM A BOOK OF HOURS IN LATIN.
TEXT FROM GOSPEL LESSONS.(Paris, ca. 1460). 121 x 89 mm (4 3/4 x 3 1/2"). Single column, 15 lines of text in a fine, regular gothic book hand.
Attractively matted. Rubrics in red, recto with a line filler in colors and gold and a two-line blue capital decorated with charming blue and scarlet flowers on delicate white tendrils, the whole on a burnished gold ground, the verso of the leaf with an elaborate quarter panel border featuring acanthus leaves, flowers, and other vegetation and many burnished gold ivy leaves on hairline stems, the recto with a simliar but more lavish three-quarter panel border (and with a vertical bar border of red, blue, and burnished gold between the text and the border in the fore margin); the recto also WITH A SMALL AND EXTREMELY CHARMING MINIATURE (measuring approximately 27 x 29 mm.) OF SAINT MATTHEW. Half of the very top of the three-quarter border ever so slightly trimmed, otherwise IN VIRTUALLY FAULTLESS CONDITION, especially bright and fresh, with the paint and gold entirely intact.
This scene shows a golden-haired Saint Matthew in the foreground accompanied by his symbolic angel, with star-spangled wings, further back on the right. The pair inhabit a room with a tessellated green floor that pulls us backward in space to a maroon screen embellished with gold partially obscuring three windows, the whole beneath a wood plank ceiling. The artist has been particularly lavish here in depicting the garments, with the Evangelist wearing a pink gown and a voluminous blue cloak highlighted by angular gold folds, and the angel in a matching blue cloak with a gold border and massive circular gold clasp, beneath which shows his simple white gown. The text here tells the story of the Three Wise Men. (ST11459-16)