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Sunday, September 06, 2009

Sta Maria degli Angeli. Florence

Don Simone Camaldolese active c.1378 to 1405
CHRIST IN GLORY, in an initial B on a leaf from a choirbook (c. 1380s) Psalter (Psalm 109, Dixit Dominus domino meo)
Manuscript on vellum
514 x 382mm (leaf), 128 x 138mm (initial).
Private collection




Originally from Siena, Don Simone was a Camaldolese monk at Sta Maria degli Angeli in Florence

His near contemporaries there were Don Silvestro dei Gherarducci and Lorenzo Monaco, who is thought to have been partly trained by Don Simone

This leaf carries Psalm 109, Dixit Dominus domino meo, the first Psalm for Sunday Vespers

Note the acanthus leaves of pink, green, blue, grey, yellow ochre and orange

Don Silvestro dei Gherarducci (1339-99)
Leaf from a gradual with an initial S (1392-1399 )
Water-based pigments, gilding and ink on parchment
Height 575 mm x Width 400 mm
Height 420 mm (written space) x Width 265 mm (written space
The Victoria and Albert Museum, London


Silvestro dei Gherarducci (1339-99) illuminated works not only for Santa Maria degli Angeli but also for Paolo Venier, abbot of San Michele à Murano, a Camaldolese house in Venice.

This page from a Gradual was illuminated by Don Silvestro dei Gherarducci for the monastery of San Michele a Murano in Venice.

The leaf contains an initial S for the beginning of the Mass for Pentecost.

In the upper register, the Virgin prays with the Apostles as the Holy Ghost descends; in the lower, the elders of all nations (carefully differentiated by their costume) wait for enlightenment.

In 1401, Dominican nuns wanting advice on the making of books were told by Giovanni Dominici a Dominican from Florence to study the choirbooks of Santa Maria degli Angeli, which contained Silvestro's work.


Piero di Giovanni known as Lorenzo Monaco 1370-1425
The Three Marys at the Tomb
1396-1404
Illumination on vellum, 46 x 48 cm
Musée du Louvre département des Arts graphiques , Paris



In 1391 Piero di Giovanni  took his vows as a monk of the Camaldolese monastery of Sta Maria degli Angeli. He rose to the rank of deacon

He left the Order before taking final vows. He became a successful painter of altarpieces amongst other things.

His art is the highest achievement of the last flowering of Gothic art in Florence.

The large capital initial "A" (of the word "Angelus"), in which is inscribed a representation of the three Marys discovering the empty tomb of Christ, was cut out of the third sheet of an antiphonary composed for the Florentine convent of Santa Maria degli Angeli in 1396