Manuscript Illumination with the Birth of the Virgin in an Initial G, from a Gradual
Don Silvestro de' Gherarducci (Italian, Florence 1339–1399 Florence)
Made in Florence, Italy
Tempera, ink, and gold on parchment
Overall: 11 1/2 x 11 3/4 in. (29.2 x 29.8 cm)
Mat Size: 22 x 16 in. (55.9 x 40.6 cm)
Manuscripts and Illuminations
Rogers Fund, 1921
Not on view
Were it not for the halos, one might think that this scene, painted by a monk celebrated as a painter, illuminator, and successful administrator of Santa Maria degli Angeli, represents morning in a wealthy home in Florence. Surrounded by bright silks on the bed and walls of her chamber, Saint Anne gazes down as midwives bathe her child, the Virgin Mary. Servants enter and exit at the right, one partly hidden by the framing initial. Lilies, symbolic of the Virgin's purity, fill the border; one cuts through the initial below Saint Anne's hand.
From a gradual created for the Camaldolese monastery of Santa Maria degli Angeli, Florence; [ S. Durlacher, London (sold 1921)]
Boehm, Barbara Drake, and Laurence B. Kanter. Painting and Illumination in Early Renaissance Florence, 1300–1450. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1994. no. 16h, pp. 150–51.
Palladino, Pia. Treasures of a Lost Art: Italian Manuscript Painting in the Middle Ages and Renaissance. New York and New Haven: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2003. no. 16h, pp. 150-151.
Boehm, Barbara Drake. "Choirs of Angels: Painting in Italian Choir Books, 1300-1500." The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, n.s., 66, no. 3 (Winter 2009). p. 39, fig. 47.