Catalog Archive
Auction 101, Lot 563

"[Antiphonal Leaf]", Anon.

Subject: Music

Period: 1680 (circa)



16.5 x 24.8 inches
41.9 x 63 cm

The origins of liturgical music traditionally date back to St. Gregory the Great (d. 604), who was inspired by the Holy Dove to record the principles of 'Gregorian' chant. The Gradual contained the musical parts of the Missal and was sung from the steps (gradus) of the altar. The Antiphoner contained the musical sections of the Breviary. These terms have become interchangeable in modern times. Because of their size and complexity, these manuscripts were still being handmade in the traditional way for centuries after the introduction of printing. They were boldly hand-written and illuminated on large sheets of sturdy vellum so that the entire choir could read from one book.

Superb large sheet of vellum with five-line music written in red and black from an Italian Antiphoner. The verso is illuminated with a very large (5.7 x 6") historiated initial "B" of Benedicta. This splendid miniature pertains to the feast day of the Most Holy Trinity and shows God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit in the form of a dove. The painting is beautifully rendered with flowers, faces, a sea monster and a bird, all painted on a background of burnished gold leaf. The recto includes a lovely full stanza initial "S" executed in blue with red filigree penwork designs extending into the margin. This leaf is a fine, museum quality example of Renaissance painting.


Condition: A

Light discoloration and cockling.

Estimate: $1,500 - $1,700

Sold for: $1,400

Closed on 12/4/2002