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Medieval & Renaissance Manuscripts

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Praeparatio ad missam pontificalem
Italy, Ferrara, ca. 1485
MS M.279 fol. 1r

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Initial P: Scene, Liturgical: Prayer -- Initial P enclosing cardinal, tonsured, wearing mantle of cardinal, with joined hands raised, looking upward, kneeling before draped altar on which are two candlesticks, below canopy. Two men, confronted, standing in background, one possibly holding cardinal’s hat; four men standing next to the altar. Ships sailing in background. Initial decorated with vining floreate ornament extending to left and upper margins. Left Margin: Of putti climbing amid the vines, one with both hands around neck of woodpecker; another grasping with raised left hand, right foot of the first putto; putto blowing wind instrument in right hand and holding torch with left hand; putto, with right hand against head of another holding scimitar; putto wearing quiver and bow on cord over left shoulder, grasping with both hands, right foot of the putto with scimitar; putto seated on tendril playing lute. Right Margin: John Baptist, nimbed, wearing animal skin, holding cross-staff with right hand and blank scroll with left and Archangel Michael, nimbed, holding object, possibly rod with right hand, raising left hand, standing on dragon. Both within aedicule standing below shell, framed by arch and flanked by two columns with foliate capitals. Above, on face of gable above the arch, winged head or mask. Atop the gable, two standing putti holding ends of garland; two putti recline on the garland, grasping it with both arms. On crest of gable, gold ball on which stands soldier wearing olive leaf crown (?), breastplate and tunic, scroll curling around right wrist, holding bannered spear decorated with red cross, heraldry of George of Cappadocia. Pendant below the aedicule decorated with black face or mask; hanging from the pendant, two bunches of grapes eaten by two putti grasping tendrils that entwine their bodies. Lower Margin: Escutcheon decorated with effaced heraldry of Cardinal Giovanni Giacopo Sclafenati (per fesse argent a castle with two towers gules, and vert two bars argent, on a chief chapé chaussé azure an oak tree eradicated or, its branches interlaced in saltire) surmounted by cardinal’s hat, its cords draping shoulders of two angels, nimbed, flanking and holding the escutcheon. Text is beginning of preparation for Mass.

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