Illuminated miniature on vellum. [South Flanders c.
MASS OF ST. GREGORY (1480])
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Single miniature on vellum, 108 mm. X 60 mm., in an arched compartment cut around its frame, from a Book of Hours. The papal saint kneels celebrating Mass with an attendant as the naked figure of Christ appears to him on the altar surrounded by the Instruments of the Passion. Sixteen lines of text in brown ink in a lettre batarde on the verso.
From the collection of the Marquess of Bute, formerly loosely enclosed in Marquess of Bute MS. 96 (G. 22).
"According to legend, the sixth-century Pope Gregory the Great was celebrating Mass when one of his assistants doubted the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist. During the service, the Saviour himself miraculously appeared at the altar, allaying any doubts as to the true nature of the Communion wafer. This miniature accompanies a prayer to the Eucharist said at the Elevation; this picture translates the prayer's message into visual form. Christ is shown as the Man of Sorrows, bleeding and exhausted, nearly dead; he is surrounded by the Instruments of the Passion." Roger S. Wieck, Painted Prayers, the Book of Hours in Medieval and Renaissance Art (1997), p. 104.
Provenance: John Crichton-Stuart, Sixth Marquess of Bute (1933-93) sold as lot 31, Sotheby's 13 June 1983, The Bute Collection of Forty-Twp Illuminated Manuscripts and Miniatures, sold by Order of The Most Honourable The Marquess of Bute, J.P., LL.D.
Stock Code: 225283