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Wednesday, January 21, 2015

A Miniature Consistory


Appollonio de' Bonfratelli ( c. 1500–75)
The Creation of Cardinals by Pope  Paul IV
From a Missal of Pope Paul IV
c. 1555 - c. 1559
Illuminated manuscript
260 x 175 mm
The British Library, London


Apollonio de’ Bonfratelli has been described as  one of the master craftsmen in book illumination at the papal court in the sixteenth century,

He studied under Giulio Clovio (1498–1578) 

His career began in 1523, and continued to serve in all seven Popes 

He became papal miniaturist in 1556 in the pontificate of Paul IV

In this work cameos of the Virtues (Faith, Hope, Temperance, Truth, Prudence, Charity, Justice, Fortitude), surround  a miniature in a painted frame in colours and gold, of the papal ceremony of the creation of cardinals with Paul IV standing in front of the papal throne inscribed 'Paulus IIII / Pont Max', reading from a book that two cardinals hold open

During the French Revolutionary wars the French occupied Italy and looted many cultural treasures, including thousands of manuscripts from Italian churches and papal service books from the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican. This is part of a cutting which found its way to the British Library

There was an exhibition by the Meadows Museum in Dallas  on these lost manuscripts and miniatures entitled: The Lost Manuscripts from the Sistine Chapel: An Epic Journey from Rome to Toledo

Cardinal Francesco Antonio José de Lorenzana y Buitrón (1722- 1804), Archbishop of Toledo, Primate of Spain, and Ambassador of King Charles IV to the Holy See was one of the few who managed to save and salvage a great deal from the Vatican. History and the Church owes him and others like him a great deal