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Medieval & Renaissance Manuscripts

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Litterae ducales donationis ad monasterium Sanctae Mariae Gratiarum
Italy, Milan, between 1499 and 1541
MS M.434 fol. 1r

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Ludovico Sforza: Scene, Donation to Santa Maria delle Grazie -- Two men, wearing black hats and garments, one holding scepter, stand behind Ludovico Sforza, wearing black hat and garment, possibly garment of mourning, with gold chain around neck, left hand on chest, extending right hand holding packet with red seal hanging from it. Monk, probably Vincenzo Baldelli di Castelnuove, prior, tonsured, wearing habit of Dominican, extends both hands, grasping the packet. At far right, behind him, stands another monk, wearing hood and habit of Dominican, holding right hand to head, and book with left hand.
Scene in room decorated with architectural and sculptural ornament.
Below the miniature is large scroll with text of the donation, below which is visible lower portion of two monks wearing habits of Dominicans.
All of the above is framed by doorway with two steps approaching it. Hung on the doorway and connected by knotted cords are: impaled arms of Ludovico Sforza (or three eagles sable per pale) and his wife Beatrice d'Este (quartered one and four azure fleur de lis or with a border gules, two and three azure eagle argent) surmounted by crown; rod on which are two confronted dragons, surmounted by winged hat, reminiscent of caduceus, superimposed on initial L; device of axe held by hand, chopping wood below scroll inscribed TUTO IL TORTO VAIN; device of whisk broom below scroll inscribed MERITO ET TEMPORE; single eagle on gold escutcheon; two hands holding cloth or net, possibly sifter, below scroll inscribed TALE A TI QUALE A MI.

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