Augustine Preaching, and A Ghostly Person Kneeling before Him

(Italy[?], perhaps Bologna: late 13th or early 14th century). 495 x 350 mm. (19 1/2 x 13 3/4"). Single column, nine lines of text beneath four-line staves of music, in an angular gothic book hand.

Mounted (with obverse not visible) and matted. Rubrics and staves in red, recto with one one-line initial in red, and A LARGE INITIAL "I" SHOWING SAINT AUGUSTINE IN FULL LENGTH, dressed as a bishop and holding a crozier and an open book. Outer corner with a later ink folio number 69. Vellum slightly soiled, Augustine a little rubbed (the underdrawing showing through in places) but the miniature generally well preserved and no serious condition issues.

This leaf features a very unusual full-length depiction of a standing Saint Augustine, his pose reminiscent of the statues often found at the portals of cathedrals. He is here shown as a bishop with a jewelled miter, holding a crozier in one hand and a remarkably detailed codex in the other--one can clearly see the red edges, gold clasps, and several lines of ruled text. More interesting still is the presence of a ghostly figure that appears to be kneeling below him. Now almost imperceptible due the (intentional?) rubbing there, one can just make out the folds of his or her robes and a hand reaching up to touch the book held by the saint. Had this detail been spared, it may have given us a clue as to the provenance of the work; nevertheless, the prominence of the remaining figure suggests that the antiphonary was made for an Augustinian house, either Austin canons (founded in northern Italy and southern France in the 11th century) or one of the later congregations of Augustinian friars, founded in 1256. A note in pencil in the margin hints that it is a 13th century Italian leaf, but the script suggests that it is slightly later and could just as easily be from Southern France or even Spain.

Keywords: Antiphonary

Add to Cart Price: $6,000.00

PJP Catalog: 72.014