Pope Clement VII Asperging the Congregation Before Mass
Composite leaf with miniature by Vincenzo Raimondi
Vellum with montage pasted on card
500 x 280 mm
The large miniature, depicting the pope in procession with bishops, sprinkling holy water, is by Vincenzo Raimondi (d. 1557), a French illuminator who worked for the papal courts from Leo X (r. 1513–21) to Paul IV (r. 1555–59). The miniature is surrounded by double borders of several different fragments cleverly arranged to appear whole. The Medici arms appear twice as well as emblems with mottoes (Semper, "always," and Suave, "sweet") used by both Leo X and Clement VII, who was Giulio de' Medici, cousin of Leo X. The use of the yoke with Suave derives from Matthew 11:30, "For my yoke is sweet and my burden light." Among the popes, bishops, saints, and other figures in the ovals, only one can be identified. It is Pope Gregory the Great, at the top left, for his attribute is the dove, symbol of the Holy Spirit, suggesting the divine inspiration of his writing.