Spanish school of the 16th century. “Saints of the Catholic Church”.
Watercolour on parchment. Measurements: 17 x 17 cm (total). Within a large wooden, decorated frame (32cm x 32cm). The artist of the present work represents some of the saints of the Catholic
church, such as Saint Peter with the keys or Saint James with a pilgrim’s hat. Each figure is meticulously depicted, wearing a golden nimbus and ostentatious robes. These works are called codex miniae, which were handwritten and illustrated books that were produced in the “scriptorium” or specialised workshops of the monasteries by monks of great artistic and doctrinal qualification for the monasteries themselves, the churches and the kings.
Peter Kidd wrote about this initial in his blogpost dated 13 February, 2022 in which he says:
“Based on the style of script and illumination I would probably have guessed that it is French (Rouen?), of c.1500 or early 16th century. I might certainly be wrong about the nationality, though: there is something weird about the form of the letter itself, with the way that the blue shades into white against brown; it is as if a Spanish(?) artist has tried to copy, but misunderstood, the form of French ‘puzzle’ initials: On the other hand, it turned up in Spain, and it is notable that while the initial apparently introduces the Common for an Apostle: “E[go autem sicut oliva … quoniam bonum est ante] conspectum san[ctorum] tuorum”. the saint in pride of place, in the centre between Sts Peter and Paul, is St James, patron of Spain. The initial is dated along the top edge, 4 March 1505 (in 1505, 4 March was the Tuesday in the 4th week of Lent). I don’t think I’ve seen a historiated initial dated in this way before.
The manuscript is framed using museum-quality archival materials, including the glass.