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(Northern France [probably Paris], 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 panel borders on both sides inhabited by a friendly peacock, one with a bright green tail, the other with a brushed gold tail, the recto also WITH A BLOODY MINIATURE (measuring 35 x 33 mm.) OF SAINT SEBASTIAN'S MARTYRDOM, the half-naked saint tied to a tree, bleeding from numerous arrow wounds, his two tormentors a study in contrasts: one a large, uncouth fellow with a plain bow, the other a dandy in pink tights and a blue and gold doublet shooting a crossbow, the scene set in a meadow with rolling green hills leading to a turreted town in the distance. ◆One tiny hole to the background landscape, minor flaking of paint, peacock on the recto a little rubbed, otherwise a fine, fresh leaf.
Although the martyred Saint Sebastian is invariably pictured as shot full of arrows, he did not die from these punctures, but rather was actually nursed back to health by Saint Irene, then returned to serve the emperor, who had him clubbed to death. As Wieck says in "Time Sanctified," the story of these double miseries of our third century captain in Diocletian's army had already made Sebastian one of the two or three most popular of Christian martyrs. But in addition to the wide regard that had accrued from his martyrdom, "the opportunity that Sebastian provided for portraying a beautiful nude youth ensured his popularity among artists and many of their clients . . . from the late Middle Ages, through the Renaissance, to the 19th century." One of the archers in the Sebastian miniature is usually depicted wearing an elaborately decorated doublet, and in that tradition, the artist here has done an impressive job of showing carefully defined gold embroidery on the garment of the figure in the foreground. (ST12021-244)