1490. Naples: late 15th century.
A cutting, 173 mm x 182 mm, with historiated initial 'E' (doubtless the introit 'Ecce advenit... for Mass at Epiphany), 147 mm x 152 mm. Slight spots of rubbing. In an elaborate gold frame.
§ The Virgin and Child seated on the right with Joseph behind, set among green and yellow hills, painted in full colors and liquid gold, the initial itself in elaborate leafy design in dark red with pink and white heightening entwined with green leaves at the top and bottom, set on a burnished gold ground with colored trefoils in each corner, flecked blue surround, traces of text and music to the right of the initial, verso with parts of 2 lines each of text and of music on a 4-line red stave.
Large miniature in the style of the Neapolitan illuminator Cristoforo Majorana, documented in Naples from 1480 until 1492 (cf. F. Avril, Dix siecles d'enluminure italienne, 1984, pp. 176-7, no. 156). The standing kinds are painted with splendid robes, fringed with pearls. The blue flecked border, giving the effect of the whole initial hovering above the vellum, derived from the classicising illumination of Mantua and Padua, and became a feature of Neapolitan manuscripts of the late fifteenth century. Item #122866