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

Gradual 1 for San Michele a Murano (Folio 38v)

c. 1395
Tempera and gold on parchment, 570 x 380 mm
The Morgan Library and Museum, New York

According to Vasari, in the Camaldolese monastery of Santa Maria degli Angeli in Florence there were twenty choir books written by a certain Don Jacopo and illustrated by Don Silvestro dei Gherarducci. He also points out that several other choir books by the same masters were in the library in the monastery of San Michele of the same order in Murano. Single illuminated pages representing a number of scenes from a large gradual by Don Silvestro have survived in various museums. Together with several other stylistically consistent historiated pages and with a considerable number of cut initials scattered in various museums, they formed the major portion of the illuminated decoration of two large graduals for San Michele a Murano. Fifty-one full pages and initials have been discovered so far that can now be firmly associated with the two San Michele a Murano graduals, Gradual 1 (The First Sunday of Advent to Passion Week) and Gradual 2 (Easter to the Twenty-fourth Sunday after Pentecost).

The scene within the initial P represents the Nativity and the Annunciation to the Shepherds. The Virgin Mary, here represented as a Madonna of Humility sitting on a vivaciously patterned cushion, gazes toward her spouse, who with deepest devotion kisses his son's little feet. The actual Annunciation to the Shepherds is not narrated within the initial but extends to the border decoration in the lower left margin, which consists of stylised flowers and leaves.

The leaf contains the introit to the Mass for Christmas Day.

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