Original 15th century Missal leaf: Italy (probably Siena) c. 1460.
Executed in manuscript calligraphy on animal parchment. Two columns (29 lines each) of Latin rotunda script in black & red; large initials alternately in blue and red with the largest initials having extensive fine pen-scroll tracery in blue and red extending to the margins. This leaf measures 340 x 250mm - 13.6 x 10".
Attributed to the great Sienese artist & panel painter Sano di Pietro (1405-81) & his workshop – a style readily recognizable, not only by the finely modeled faces, but also by the marvelous illuminations inhabiting his borders!
The five-line historiated & highly illuminated initial ''O'' depicts St. Andrew with his cross. The illuminated border in three margins is composed of acanthus leaves, flowers, & gold discs – plus connecting birds, butterflies & a heraldic shield in colors of blue, orange, green, pink, red & burnished gold!
The red ''I'' begins John 1:36 – 51: ''In illo tempore…Et respiciens…'' (And beholding Jesus walking, he saith: Behold the Lamb of God…Andrew, the brother of Simon Peter, was one of the two who had heard of John, & followed him…).
Provenance: From a Missal made for a bishop, with his arms, per pale azure and or, an eagle displayed with two heads dimidiated of the same, augmented in fess with an escutcheon gules and a cross gemelle or. The manuscript was sold by the Andulusia Foundation at Christie’s NY, 16 May 1986, lot 213, subsequently dispersed.
The finely modeled faces and crane-like birds with their riot of color & gold are redolent of Sano di Pietro’s work and the closest parallels are to a Gradual illuminated by him for the Piccolomini family (Siena, Piccolomini Library cod.17.11).
Presented in an archival 20x16'' mat