"[Illuminated Leaf]", Anon.
Subject: Medieval Manuscripts
Period: 1400 (circa)
Publication: Johannes Gallensis' Summa Collationum, sive Communiloquium
Color: Hand Color
9.5 x 14 inches
24.1 x 35.6 cm
An extraordinary vellum leaf from a rare Spanish manuscript. Written in an extraordinarily regular gothic book hand in black with red rubrics. Text in double columns with headings in red and blue with delicate penwork. The recto is illuminated in flamboyant Catalan style with a fine three-line initial extending into the margin with dramatic tendrils of leaves and flowers painted in various colors and highlighted in burnished gold leaf. A correction or notation has been added in the bottom margin by a contemporaneous hand.
Johannes Gallensis (John of Wales) was a Franciscan scholar active in the second half of the 13th century in Oxford and Paris. He compiled a series of pastoral handbooks for preachers containing quotations from ancient and patristic authors. The most important and successful of these handbooks was the Summa Collationum, sive Communiloquium, which provided priests with basic, practical information on how to lead an ethical life. Additionally it was used by laymen, including Spanish nobility, who used it as a source of ideas for government. Most of the extant exemplars of this work are unadorned manuscripts written for personal use. Only a few, intended for important patrons, are richly illuminated like the fragmentary copy from which this leaf came.