Don Silvestro dei Gherarducci (Italian, 1339-1399)
ink, tempera, and gold on vellum
Sheet - h:38.60 w:36.50 cm (h:15 3/16 w:14 5/16 inches)
Framed - h:68.89 w:53.02 cm (h:27 1/16 w:20 13/16 inches)
Matted - h:63.50 w:47.62 cm (h:25 w:18 11/16 inches)
Purchase from the J. H. Wade Fund
This initial would have introduced the text Gaudeamus omnes in Domino... (Let us rejoice in the Lord...), the beginning of Introit (introductory section) for the Feast of All Saints (November 1st). The highly chromatic initial with punched and burnished gold represents the enthroned godhead, Christ, with his mother, the Virgin Mary, seated at his right and to whom rows of saints and angels turn in adoration.
This monumental initial G is generally considered to be the artist's masterpiece. Along with several others which still survive, this initial was part of a magnificent gradual produced in the scriptorium of the monastery of Santa Maria degli Angeli in Florence.