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. 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 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 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 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 OF SAINT MATTHEW (measuring approximately 27 x 29 mm.). A sliver of decoration trimmed along the top left of the three-quarter border, 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)