Illuminated initial of St Lawrence cut from a choir book.St Lawrence, in a historiated initial on a cutting from an illuminated manuscript choirbook on vellum. [Central Italy (Umbria?), c. 1500-1510]



Available to view at our Curzon Street shop.

A full-figure of St. Lawrence, tonsured and haloed, dressed as a deacon wearing an elaborately decorated dalmatic, holding a book and a palm leaf, with a maniple over his left arm, standing on the gridiron against a delicately painted landscape background including a hill-top town; within a finely painted initial 'L' in colours on a burnished gold ground.

Size: 114 x 130mm. Cut from a choir book leaf with manuscript musical notation to verso, mounted.

A fine initial depicting St. Lawrence, the widely venerated martyr of the early church, reminiscent of illumination in Rome and Umbria at the beginning of the 16th century. It bears comparison to one artist in particular, the First Master of Montemorcino who was involved in the superb series of twenty-two illuminated liturgical manuscripts known as the Montemorcino Choirbooks produced for the Olivetan monastery founded there. The anonymous illuminated were influenced by the early works of Perugino and Pinturicchio.

Jonathan Alexander in The Painted Book in Renaissance Italy (2016) writes, "A major commission was the corali of the monastery of Montemorcino, Perugia. Twenty-two surviving volumes were transferred after the closing of Olivetan houses in the Papal States by Pope Gregory XVI in 1831 to Monteoliveto Maggiore. A number of different illuminators worked on them in the late fifteenth century, probably the 1490s."

Small paper label on verso with manuscript number '9'.

See also: Pia Palladino, Treasures of a Lost Art. Italian Manuscript Painting of the Middle Ages and Renaissance, pp. 145/6.

Stock Code: 248170

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