TEXT FROM THE SUFFRAGES OF THE SAINTS.

(Northern France [probably Paris], ca. 1460s). 130 x 98 mm. (5 1/8 x 3 7/8"). Single column, 14 lines in a fine gothic book hand.

Attractively matted. The text similarly decorated as in the previous entry, but with the panel border on the verso inhabited by a long-necked hybrid beast, the same side WITH A FINE, SMALL MINIATURE (measuring 35 x 33 mm.) OF SAINT ANTHONY THE GREAT, the Desert Father seated on a broad wooden bench beneath a red and gold canopy, one hand upraised in blessing, the other holding an open book, the saint flanked on either side by a fierce demon, one raising a stick with which to beat him, and in the foreground, a pig sniffing around the saint's feet. Minor loss of paint in a small spot on the miniature, affecting the head of one demon, one initial faintly blurred, otherwise fresh, clean, and altogether pleasing.

This is a memorably animated miniature showing the father of Christian monasticism serenely ignoring the demons sent to taunt and tempt him. The patron saint of swineherds (thus the pig as his attribute), Saint Anthony withstood many years of demonic torments, and offered advice and encouragement to others in their own trials. While the artist was restricted by an expected reverence toward the saint, he felt no such constraint in depicting the devils, and the one on the left--with a chest resembling the red scales of an alligator--is a particularly successful expression of artistic license.
(ST12021-241)