(Bruges: ca. 1440). 177 x 124 mm. (7 x 4 7/8"). Single column, verso with 13 lines in a gothic book hand.
Matted in a gold and green frame, glass on both sides. Rubrics in red, one two-line initial in gold on pink and blue ground with white tracery and sprays of flowers extending into the margin, a beautiful four-line initial painted blue on a burnished gold ground and embellished with vinestem work, WITH AN ARCH-TOPPED HALF-PAGE MINIATURE DEPICTING ST. DOMINIC STANDING OVER A BEAST, the saint dressed in his traditional white tunic and hooded black cloak, holding a book and a staff in the shape of a cross, set in a wooded landscape with trees and a castle in the background, framed in gold and SURROUNDED BY A FULL BORDER of acanthus leaves and floral elements with gold bezants. VIRTUALLY PRISTINE with just a hint of soiling along the bottom edge, and one or two minor blemishes.
This charming leaf features a full-length image of St. Dominic in a style attributable to the Gold Scrolls circle. Here the saint is shown in an outdoor setting, with trees and turrets of a distant city nestled in the rolling hills. The sky is painted a distinctive burnt red color with gold scrolling work. Dominic appears in the traditional garments of his Order--a white tunic and black hooded robe. As the founder of a mendicant Order focused on scholastic thought and heavily involved with preaching, Dominic is also, appropriately, depicted holding a book in one hand and a ferula in the other. He stands upon a strange beast with a long torso and tail, something akin to a cross between dragon and dachshund. (This latter image suggests a visual pun: Dominicans sometimes had their name separated into two parts, "Domini Canes," which translates to "Hounds of the Lord"). The miniature was almost certainly done by one of the Flemish illuminators from a group known collectively as the Masters of the Gold Scrolls, active in Bruges for about 40 years, beginning around 1410. The name derives from the illuminated scrolling decoration in the backgrounds of many of their paintings, including the present leaf. Their style is also identifiable by the rounded, doll-like faces of the figures, and the preference for green, blue, red, and orange in much of their work. (ST14302)
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PJP Catalog: 74.030