CIRCLE OF THE MASTER BF
A Standing Pope Blessing (Peter?)
(c. 69 x 69 mm., without extensions)
Tempera and gold leaf on parchment
Italy, Lombardy, c. 1510
HIGH RENAISSANCE STYLE OF THE ITALIAN ILLUMINATOR KNOW AS THE MASTER OF B.F.
Decorating an initial S that has been cut to shape, a pope stands, crosier in his left hand, raising his right hand in blessing. He wears the papal tiara and a cope in red, the color suited to the season of Pentecost. Perhaps he prefaced the Common of One or Several Sovereign Pontiffs, which opens in the Gradual with the Introit Si diligis me Simon Petre.
The cutting is similar to works by the painter and illuminator known as the Master B.F., whose name derives from the monogram with which he signed some of his works.
Recognizable features of his High Renaissance style, which owes a debt both to the great Leonardo da Vinci and to the Lombard illuminator Cristoforo de Predis, include the palette of rose and green and the forms of the foliate extensions, the modeling of the hands and garments, and to a lesser extent the treatment of the face (which is very slightly rubbed, having been pressed against glass in an old frame).