Handsome Initials in an Italian Gradual
Type: Leaves & Fragments
Two Initials on a Single Fragment from a Magnificent Gradual. Single fragment on thick vellum. Northern Italy, Venice or Veneto, ca. 1500: 240 mm x 377 mm. Four-line staves in red (42 mm). Decoration: two fine multi-colored initials om gold grounds. The larger one (initial M of Mandatum) measures 52 mm x 52 mm and is meticulously painted with intricate penwork. The second one (initial D of Dominus) measures 42 mm x 42 mm. Its interior is filled with a blue flower blossom. Text: our fragment, about a third of the folio preserves the instructions for the Pedilavium or Washing of the Feet that takes place on Maundy (Holy) Thursday. Similar instructions are also preserved in the modern Liber Usualis. Because the our instructions include the phrase “conveniunt frares,” they seem to suggest a monastery. The antiphon Mandatum novum is then chanted twice. This is followed by the second antiphon (missing from our text) and the third, which opens, “Dominus Iesus postquam cenavit.” While antiphons characterize Antiphonals, Graduals also have them for Holy Week services, and our leaf also has the Postcommunion, “Refecti vitalibus.” Provenance: our fragment comes with a UK export license allowing permanent export. Condition: virtually immaculate, though cut down from a larger page; one natural hole at top.
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