Italy, ? Ferrara, c. 1475.
US $927 €847
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INTITIAL from a manuscript Gradual or Antiphonal; initial 'U' painted in rose red with elaborate white tracery, the centre filled with coloured foliage and blue grapes, all against a richly burnished gold ground, square notation on red 4-line staves and one partial line of text written in brown ink in a gothic hand on the verso, cut to shape, one corner chipped, in fine condition. 90 x 90 mm
The stylized decoration and use of bright colours, including the deep blue grape motif, recalls the art of Ferrara at the end of the third quarter of the 15th century. Compare, for example, an initial in a Bible painted for the Este family by Taddeo Crivelli (active from 1451, died 1479) which is now in Modena (Este Library, Ms. V. G. 12; see M. Salmi, Italian Miniatures, 1954, pl. LIII). Compare also the similar initial in a slightly later manuscript (Stralsund, Stadtarchiv, Ms. IV. 290; see E. Rothe, Buchmalerei aus Zwolf Jahrhunderten, 1965, p. 270, pl. 129).
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SEL’VINSKII, Il’ia Lvovich.
Ulialaevshchina: epopeia [The Ulialaev uprising: an epic].
Fourth edition (first, 1927) of Sel’vinskii’s first and most successful verse epic. Ulialaevshchina describes the fortunes of a kulak, Ulialaev, ‘who seized an estate from its pre-Revolutionary owner and was later defeated in an anarchist rebellion by the Red Army. Selvinsky’s depictions are folkloric. The hero’s wife, first taken from the landowner, is brutally murdered, her corpse dragged by a horse, and her head impaled on a spear by the Red commander. Ulialaev himself is shot and decapitated. In the 1950s this tale had to be rewritten, and its hero became Lenin’ (Evelyn Bristol, A History of Russian Poetry, OUP, 1991, p. 255).
in French and Latin, with readings from the Gospel of John, the Book of Wisdom, and Ephesians; a partial bifolium (leaves not consecutive), double columns of 30 lines written in a good formal gothic bookhand in brown ink, ruled lightly with ink, five two-line initials delicately painted in pink or blue against burnished gold grounds and with ivyleaf extensions, ten one-line initials in burnished gold against pink and blue grounds, capitals touched in yellow, Latin passages underlined in red, original numbering in red at head of each leaf ‘xii. xix.’ and ‘xiii. iiii.’, rubrics; trimmed at foot, without loss of text, and at fore-margins, occasionally affecting a letter or two, but in excellent condition. 202 x 141 mm (172 x 120 mm)
The use of French indicates that the parent manuscript was intended for a lay reader or audience, while the quality of the script and illumination points to a prestigious commission. The passages in French are each preceded by the first few words of the original Latin text, underlined in red.