GHERARDUCCI, Don Silvestro dei
(b. 1339, Firenze, d. 1399, Firenze)

Gradual from Santa Maria degli Angeli (Folio 155v)

c. 1370
Tempera and gold on parchment, 348 x 387 mm
Museum of Art, Cleveland

Among the various choir books that Don Silvestro illuminated for his monastery, Santa Maria degli Angeli, one (Cod. Cor. 2, now in the Biblioteca Laurenziana, Florence) clearly stands out for its high artistic quality. As were most of the Santa Maria degli Angeli choir books which entered the Biblioteca Laurenziana, it was mutilated in the Napoleonic period. Twenty pages - many of them the most important and most beautiful - were cut from this gradual and found their way into various collections. There are thirty-eight present and missing illuminations in the codex on which a reconstruction can be based.

The miniature from folio 155v depicts the Virgin and Christ in Glory Surrounded by Saints and Angels in an initial G. This initial begins the introit to the Mass for the commemoration of All Saints (November 1). Hovering over a flowery meadow are Christ and his Heavenly Mother as King of Justice and Queen of Mercy, respectively. They hold sceptres, emblems of their sovereignty, and are seated on a bright throne of seraphim. The iconography of this splendid initial is firmly rooted in Sienese tradition.