With Red and Yellow Celestial Beings that Are Given a Convincing Ghostly Appearance


(Paris, ca. 1460). 153 x 110 mm. (6 x 4 3/8"). Single column, 14 lines of text in a fine gothic book hand.

One-line initial in burnished gold on a pink and blue ground with white tracery, a two-line initial and a three-line initial in pink with white tracery on a ground of burnished gold, the center filled with twining blue vines bearing pink and scarlet flowers, verso with a rinceau panel border featuring twining hairline stems bearing burnished gold ivy leaves and fruit, blue and gold acanthus leaves, and flowers, recto WITH AN ARCH-TOPPED MINIATURE OF THE HOLY TRINITY SURROUNDED BY THE HEAVENLY HOST, this and the accompanying text enclosed by a pink, blue, and burnished gold bar border on one side, and a brushed gold bar border with pink lotus flowers on two sides, the whole surrounded by A FULL RINCEAU BORDER DENSE WITH ACANTHUS LEAVES, FOLIAGE, FRUIT, FLOWERS, AND TINY GOLD BERRIES on hairline stems. A little paint flaked from the book held by the Trinity, a couple of small spots in the margin, otherwise in fine condition--clean and smooth, with comfortable margins, and bright gold.

The Trinity is shown here seated on a canopied throne, with God the Son, his hand raised in blessing, to the left of the Father. The latter, in a towering crown, holds a gold orb, and the Father and Son together support a large book opened between them. The dove of the Holy Spirit hovers above the book, radiating golden beams. The Trinity is flanked on both sides by cherubim and seraphim in rich red and soft yellow. It is the rendering of this angelic ambiance that elevates the level of aesthetic achievement here: both red and yellow celestial beings are given a ghostly appearance, as if appearing out of a filmy yellow or a densely red fog. The artistic qualities as a whole suggest that this leaf comes from a manuscript commissioned by a person of significant means.