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Leaf Excised from a "Decretum" by Gratian: Initial C[anonici cuiusdam ecclesiae] with a Seated Cleric

Leaf Excised from a "Decretum" by Gratian: Initial C[anonici cuiusdam ecclesiae] with a Seated Cleric

c. 1300-1310

Ink, tempera, and gold on vellum

Sheet: 34.3 x 19.7 cm (13 1/2 x 7 3/4 in.)

Purchase from the J. H. Wade Fund 1926.245

Description

Introducing Causa XIV (law case) of the Decretum, this initial C is but one component of a complex decoration scheme. The artist also included a miniature representing an audience scene before a bishop and large drollery (hybrid figure) of a jousting knight beneath the left text column. Both of these devices serve to separate the end of one text and the beginning of another but, in the process, overshadow the initial itself. The script has been identified as by an Italian hand. Because Bologna was the center for the study of canon law at this time, it seems that the codex may have been copied there. The illumination was applied after the undecorated manuscript was carried to France.

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