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Leaf from a Commission: St. Mark Giving the Keys of Venice to Francesco de Priuli

Leaf from a Commission: St. Mark Giving the Keys of Venice to Francesco de Priuli

c. 1523-1524

Ink, tempera and gold on vellum

Leaf: 23.1 x 15.7 cm (9 1/8 x 6 3/16 in.)

The Jeanne Miles Blackburn Collection 2011.69

Description

The miniature shows the enthroned figure of Saint Mark, patron saint of Venice, presenting the symbolic keys of Venice to the kneeling figure of Francesco de Priuli upon his appointment as Procurator of Saint Mark's. Beneath the miniature are twelve lines of text, the opening of a ducale issued by Doge Andrea Gritti (1523–38) announcing de Priuli's appointment, which was made in the early 1520s. The text begins, Nos Andreas Griti, Dei gratia Dux venetiarum (Our Andrea Gritti, By the Grace of God Duke of the Venetians). The illumination relates closely to the work of Benedetto Bordon, a Paduan-born miniaturist who became prominent in Venice. The decorative borders appear to be edged in thin gilt-bronze bars that give the illusion of fine metalwork. Four oval cartouches are occupied by the Lion of Saint Mark (top), the de Priuli arms (bottom), Saint Anthony the Great (right), and his symbol, a swine (left). The Priuli Arms below are festooned with wreaths and supported by mermen with horns and pink tails. This exquisite leaf exemplifies the changes in script, page layout, border decoration, and binding developed by the Italian humanist culture of the 1400s.

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