Adoration of Magi
Cutting from a Gradual, in Latin
Illuminated by Master B. F.
The Morgan Library & Museum, 1927
Master B. F. might be the Lombard illuminator Francesco Binasco, although this remains to be proven. If not the same, both were interested in engraving: Binasco worked as an engraver for the mint of Milan, and B. F. was evidently fond of engravings. The group of houses in the background of the miniature, for instance, derives from Albrecht Dürer's engraving of the Prodigal Son (ca. 1496). The motif of the servant removing the spurs of the youngest Magus may derive from Gentile da Fabriano's famous altarpiece of 1423 in the Uffizi.
The miniature came from a Gradual, as the verso contains part of the Introit to the Mass for the Epiphanyi. The leaf was lot 85 in the landmark Ottley sale held at Sotheby's in 1838. According to the catalogue, it was from the monastery of Certosa at Pavia.