GHERARDUCCI, Don Silvestro dei (b. 1339, Firenze, d. 1399, Firenze)

According to Vasari, in the Camaldolese monastery of Santa Maria degli Angeli in Florence there were twenty choir books written by a certain Don Jacopo and illustrated by Don Silvestro dei Gherarducci. He also points out that several other choir books by the same masters were in the library in the monastery of San Michele of the same order in Murano. Single illuminated pages representing a number of scenes from a large gradual by Don Silvestro have survived in various museums. Together with several other stylistically consistent historiated pages and with a considerable number of cut initials scattered in various museums, they formed the major portion of the illuminated decoration of two large graduals for San Michele a Murano. Fifty-one full pages and initials have been discovered so far that can now be firmly associated with the two San Michele a Murano graduals, Gradual 1 (The First Sunday of Advent to Passion Week) and Gradual 2 (Easter to the Twenty-fourth Sunday after Pentecost).

The scene in the initial D represents the Nativity of Christ. The depiction is clearly rooted in the Sienese tradition and echoes the invention by the Lorenzetti that must have enjoyed great popularity in Siena. The text of this page is the introit to the Midnight Mass for Christmas.


Gradual 1 for San Michele a Murano (Folio 32)
c. 1395
Tempera and gold on parchment, 580 x 400 mm
Victoria and Albert Museum, London

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