Noted Missal (the “Soissons Missal”)
In Latin, illuminated manuscript on parchment
Northeastern France (Diocese of Soissons), c. 1250-75
With 1 full-page miniature and 22 large historiated initials by the Vincent Master (active Northeast France, c. 1260-90)
This splendid Missal with its majestic full-page Crucifixion and numerous large historiated initials represents the very peak of Gothic illumination at its apogee in France, which was itself the home of the Gothic style. The present manuscript stands out for its certain localization to the diocese of Soissons and for its exceptionally full cycle of illustrations. In her recent exhaustive study of Gothic illumination, A. Stones has identified the painter of our Missal as the Vincent Master after his primary production, a manuscript of Vincent of Beauvais’s Speculum Naturale. She considers the liturgical books by this artist – especially the Soissons Missal – as “his most elegant products.” Our artist collaborated frequently with the Gautier Master known for his contributions to a series of manuscripts containing the works of Gautier de Coincy. Leroquais records only five Missals of the same period with comparably rich cycles of pictures. This is certainly one of the finest thirteenth-century Missals still in private hands.