(Paris: ca. 1508). 245 x 170 mm. (9 1/2 x 6 3/4").
Verso with one- and two-line initials painted gold on a pink or blue ground and a full metalcut border featuring several roundels with scenes from the life of Christ, recto with A FULL-PAGE METALCUT MINIATURE, BEAUTIFULLY COLORED BY A CONTEMPORARY HAND, depicting the large, reclining figure of Jesse at the bottom of the image, a green, branching tree emerging from his chest, each branch holding a smaller figure representing the lineage of Christ (12 figures in total), and at the very top a golden medallion rimmed with orange, emitting gold rays and containing the image of the Virgin and Child, all this on a deep blue ground dotted with gold, and surrounded by an architectural frame painted gold. Gold architectural border a bit tarnished (darkening most of the uncolored metalcut border on verso), tiny losses in the blue painted background, other minor imperfections, but on the whole an excellent specimen, the main part of the skillfully painted miniature vibrant and still very well preserved.
This is an attractive example of a printed leaf with contemporary hand coloring, richly hued and with fine attention to detail. The subject depicted here is the Tree of Jesse, showing the lineage of Christ and demonstrating His royal descent from Jesse of Bethlehem (the father of King David), down to the Virgin Mary. The lines immediately below the miniature, from Isaiah 11:1, help to explain some of the iconography: "Et egredietur virga de radice Jesse, et flos de radice ejus ascendet." ["And there shall come forth a rod out of the root of Jesse, and a flower shall rise up out of his root."] According to biblical tradition, the "root" here is Jesse, the "rod" ("virga" in Latin) is understood to be the Virgin Mary, and the "flower" is Christ Himself. Though the Tree can show as many as 43 generations following Jesse, the number of figures is often truncated, as here, due to the spatial constraints of the picture plane. The 12 generations shown in the present miniature are highly individualized, each with its own garb, expression, and posture. The contemporary hand that colored this leaf took great care to preserve these details and, through the use of a consistent and harmonious color palette of orange and light blue highlighted with gold, creates a cohesive and visually pleasing family tree. (ST16355)
Add to Cart Price: $1,400.00
PJP Catalog: 78.115