circle of Perugino (Italian, c1450/55-1523)
ink, tempera, and gold on parchment
Medieval Art 
Sheet - h:78.70 w:53.00 cm (h:30 15/16 w:20 13/16 inches)
Purchase from the J. H. Wade Fund
Special Exhibition Gallery
The gradual was a choral book containing the music and chants sung by a choir during Mass in response to the priest at the altar. The focus of this lavishly illuminated page is a large initial B that introduces the introit for Mass on Trinity Sunday, celebrated one week after Pentecost. This little-known leaf is a masterful example of Renaissance manuscript painting, featuring classicizing leaf scrolls, masks, urns, putti, and other decorative motifs, and illustrates the vibrancy of Perugian illumination at the century’s close. The highly accomplished style of the painting suggests that it belongs to an artist in the circle of Perugino, a younger contemporary of Bartolomeo Caporali in Perugia. Toward the end of his career, Bartolomeo seems to have been progressively influenced by Perugino’s style.