Ascension in an Initial V, Niccolò di ser Sozzo (Italian, Siena, active ca. 1334, died 1363), Tempera and gold on parchment

Ascension in an Initial V

Niccolò di ser Sozzo (Italian, Siena, active ca. 1334, died 1363)
ca. 1342–50
Tempera and gold on parchment
Cutting: 6 1/16 x 6 5/16 in. (15.4 x 16cm)
Initial: 4 1/4 x 3 7/8 in. (10.8 x 9.8cm)
Stave: 1 1/8 in. (2.9cm)
Manuscripts and Illuminations
Credit Line:
Robert Lehman Collection, 1975
Accession Number:
Not on view
This initial illustrates the antiphon for the Feast of the Ascension: Viri [ga]lile [i quid aspicitis in caelum?] ("Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking up to heaven?").
Inside the initial V, painted with a luminous gold ground, the Virgin is flanked by Saint Peter (left) and an unidentified apostle (right) who gaze toward the half-length figure of the blessing Christ. This miniature is a typical example of the production of the painter and illuminator Niccolò di Ser Sozzo. The author of a large body of manuscript illuminations in addition to several panel paintings, this artist was the leading miniaturist of Siena in the mid-fourteenth century.
Inscription: Recto: three 4-line staves (stave height 29 mm) with fragmentary text: "IRI/ lile."

Verso: two lines of fragmentary text: "illum: ecce duo / xta illos i[n] vesti"
[Maggs Brothers, London (Maggs Brothers sale 1921, lot 92, pl. 49 [as the letter A, Italy, fourteenth centruy])]; [Leo S. Olschki, Florence]. Acquired by Robert Lehman from Olschki in 1924.
Sandra Hindman, Chicago, Mirella Levi D'Ancona, Pia Palladino, and Maria Francesca Saffiotti. "Illuminations." Robert Lehman Collection. IV, New York, 1997.