This miniature of Saint Bartholomew once belonged to a famous antiphonal of which twenty leaves are known today. Long believed to have originated from the Dominican convent of Heilig Kreuz in Regensburg, recently discovered evidence suggests a Franciscan origin (Kidd 2019, 216). The initial “E” forms the incipit, Ecce ego, from the Common of the Apostles, sung for all apostolic feasts during the liturgical year.
The miniature is typical of Regensburg illumination of the fourteenth century, sometimes referred to as the “Sweet Style” in which figures are painted with chubby, restrained faces in a light color palette (Suckale 2010). The miniature also reveals borrowings from French art. The figures are articulated with strong black contours and the faces are modeled gently with pale flesh tones. Saint Bartholomew stands inside the “E,” inserting his hands through the open crossbar in a playful interaction between text and image. Typically, Bartholomew is depicted with a knife and a sheath of his own flayed skin, the symbols of his martyrdom, but here he is empty handed. The crossbar of the “E,” however, resembles a parchment stretcher used to spread animal skins and is likely a reference to both the materiality of the leaf and the saint’s own skin. Gold leaf has been applied to the interior of the initial while the exterior is framed in silver and a vibrant red border offset with pen flourishes. The remaining letters of the incipit as well as the first initial of each verse are painted in alternating shades of red and blue and embellished with pen flourishes. An initial “V” on the recto is decorated with the figure of a nun in the center with two birds alighting on each ascender.
While the parent manuscript has generally been dated to around 1310, Peter Kidd has noted stylistic similarities with paintings from the late thirteenth century such as a Golden Legend from Prüfening Abby (Munich, BSB, Clm. 13029) dated to 1282, a Lectionary made for Heilig Kruez (Oxford, Keble College MS 49) dated to 1276, and an Antiphonal made for Seligenthal Abby (Munich, BSB Clm. 23046) dated between 1290-1300 (Kidd 2019, 218). The style also compares to similar developments of the “Sweet Style” in Swiss monasteries such as Sankt Katharinental at the beginning of the fourteenth century.
The leaf comes originally from a much-studied Antiphonal created for a Franciscan house in Regensburg, probably the convent of Saint Clare (Kidd 2019, 216). For decades this manuscript was believed to have originated in the Dominican convent of Heilig Kreuz and later sold to the antique book dealer Alfred Coppenrath after the monastery’s dissolution in 1876. However, a rubric from the first leaf of the volume (SNM, E.E. Med.2) specifically mentions Saint Francis (“Ab isto die usque ad octavam epiphanie…de apostolis, nec de beato Francisco, nec de pace…”) (Nordenfolk 1979) making this assertion unlikely. A recently discovered catalog from a Parke-Bernet auction in New York, reveals that the Antiphonal was purchased by the Brummer Gallery on March 5, 1945. The catalog describes the manuscript as bound in light brown pig skin, with 314 leaves on heavy vellum and 18 large miniatures. Between 1945 and 1953, the manuscript was dismembered. Raphael Stora, a New York dealer, loaned four leaves from the Antiphonal to an exhibition at the Los Angeles County Museum in 1953 and began offering individual leaves for sale in 1954. The present leaf is f. 247 of 314).
Nineteen sister leaves from the parent manuscript have been identified.
- Vespers before the first Sunday in Advent, Nationalmuseum, (Stockholm, E.E. Med.2).
- A King or Prophet, Nationalmuseum Stockholm, (E.E. Med.1).
- The Nativity (Dec. 25), The Morgan Library and Museum, (MS M.870.1).
- Stoning of St Stephen (Dec. 26), Private Collection (Ferrini & Fogg, 1989, no. 8).
- Saints John and James (Dec. 27), Private Collection (Ferrini & Fogg, 1989, no. 9)
- Massacre of the Innocents (Dec. 28), Private Collection (Kidd 2019, no. 55).
- The Circumcision of Christ (Jan 1), The Walters Art Museum (MS W.754.A).
- Baptism of Christ (Jan. 6 Epiphany), Stockholm, Nationalmuseum (E.E. Med.3).
- Creation of Eve (Septuagesima Sunday), Private Collection.
- Christ on the Mount of Olives (Maundy Thursday), Private Collection (Sotheby’s July 8, 2014, lot 25).
- Crucifixion (Good Friday), Private Collection (Sotheby’s, July 8, 2014, lot 26)
- St. Andrew (Nov 30), The Morgan Library and Museum (MS M.870.2).
- Saint Agnes (Jan 21), The Morgan Library & Museum (MS M.870.3).
- Conversion of Paul (Jan 25), Stockholm, Nationalmuseum (E.E. Med.4).
- Presentation in the Temple (Feb 2), Harvard University, Houghton Library (MS Typ 961).
- Saints Agatha and Lucy (Feb 5), Private Collection (ex-Philippe Verdier).
- Christ Giving the Keys to St. Peter (Feb 22), Walters Art Museum (MS W.754B).
- The Annunciation (Mar 25), Seattle Museum of Art (55.30).
- Beheading of St. Katherine (Nov 25), private collection.
- Recto: Venite adoremus Venite Eterna Christi. In omnem terram exivit sonus eorum et in fines orbis terrae verba eorum... In omnem terram exivit sonus eorum et in fines orbis terrae verba eorum...
Verso: Ecce ego mitto vos sicut oves in medio luporum; estote ergo prudentes sicut serpents et simplices sicut columbae...Tollite iugum meum super vos dicit
1. Created for the Franciscan convent in Regensburg. The name “Gerwirch” appears on a sister leaf in the Pierpont Morgan Library (MS M. 870.2), which likely refers to the donor (Kidd 2019, 218).
2. Private Swiss Collection
Unpublished; for the parent manuscript, see:
Peter Kidd, The McCarthy Collection: Volume II, Spanish, English, Flemish and Central European Miniatures, London 2019.
Robert Suckale. “The ‘Sweet Style’ in Regensburg: An Addition to the Leaves from the Early Fourteenth-Century Antiphonary from the Dominican Convent of the Holy Cross,” Harvard Library Bulletin 21.2 (2010), pp. 45-52.
Meta Harrsen. Central European Manuscripts in the Pierpoint Morgan Library, New York 1958, p. 47.
Dorthey Miner, “Since de Ricci: Western Illumination Manuscripts Acquired Since 1934” Journal of the Walters Art Gallery 29/30 (1966/67), pp. 87-90.
Carl Nordenfalk, Bokmålningar från medeltid och renässans I Nationalmusei samlingar, Stockholm, 1979, no. 10.
Florentine Mütherich and and Karl Dachs, Regensburger Buchmalerei, Munich, 1987, no. 71 p. 88-89.
Bodleian Library, MS Don. a. 11