Initial D[eus in loco] with a Prophet Excised from a Gradual

Initial D[eus in loco] with a Prophet Excised from a Gradual


Lorenzo Monaco

(Italian, c. 1370–1425)

Ink, tempera, and gold on vellum

Sheet: 16.7 x 16 cm (6 9/16 x 6 5/16 in.); Framed: 52.4 x 39.7 cm (20 5/8 x 15 5/8 in.); Matted: 48.9 x 36.2 cm (19 1/4 x 14 1/4 in.)

Purchase from the J. H. Wade Fund 1949.536



This jewel-like initial is one of a series of prophet portraits painted by Lorenzo in a set of choir books commissioned by the church of Santa Maria Nuova in Florence. Striking for its blue and orange-red foliage, the initial is set against a highly burnished gold ground decorated with punch marks, much like a small panel painting. The initial begins the Introit (introductory section) to the Mass for the eleventh Sunday after Pentacost: Deus in loco sancto suo (God is in his holy place). Lorenzo, who was a Camaldolese monk, produced a vast quantity of work—illuminations, panel paintings, and frescos—an indication that his art was highly esteemed and sought after during his lifetime.

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