Leaf from a Gradual: Initial (D) with John the Baptist

Leaf from a Gradual: Initial (D) with John the Baptist

Late 1450s

attributed to Francesco d'Antonio del Cherico

(Italian, 1433-1484)

Ink, tempera, and gold on vellum

Sheet: 55.1 x 36.6 cm (21 11/16 x 14 7/16 in.)

Purchase from the J. H. Wade Fund 1950.1

Fun Fact

It was common practice in the Renaissance for illuminators to buy their pigments from apothecaries.

Description

This leaf comes from a gradual, a choral book containing the mass chants. It features a large
decorated letter D introducing the Mass: Deus, in nomine tuo salvum me fac (Save me, O God, by thy name, and judge me in thy strength) from Psalm 53. Francesco d’Antonio del Cherico began his career as a goldsmith in Florence. He eventually changed his occupation to manuscript illuminator where he achieved much success. He was a pupil of Fra Angelico and became famous for being Lorenzo de’ Medici’s favorite illuminator. He gained a reputation for his well-executed illustrations in varying types of books ranging from small books of hours to large choir books. His illustrations often featured intricate floral arrangements, as seen here.

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