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MS M.653
Florence, Italy, 1392-1399.
M.653.1-5: Purchased by J. Pierpont Morgan (1837-1913) in 1909.
5 leaves, matted : vellum, ill. ; 590 x 400 mm
Made at Santa Maria degli Angeli Monastery in Florence, probably during the abbacy of Paolo Venier (who became abbot in 1392) for the Monastery of San Michele a Murano. M.653.1-5: Bromley-Davenport Collection; his sale (London, Sotheby's, May 10, 1907, lot 181) to Quaritch; purchased from Quaritch May 6, 1909 by J. Pierpont Morgan (1837-1913); J.P. Morgan (1867-1943).

5 of 23 cuttings from a gradual (MS M.478.1-17, MS M.653.1-5, M.718); written and illuminated in Florence, Italy, in the monastery of Santa Maria degli Angeli, between 1392 and 1399.
Decoration: 5 large historiated initials and marginal vinescroll with historiated vignettes.
Artist: Silvestro, dei Gherarducci.
Scribe: according to Vasari, written by Don Jacopo (Giacobbo de Francesco).
Musical notation: on all folios, recto and verso, 4-line staves with square notes and accompanying text.


The Roman numeral XLVI at the top of the leaf indicates it was originally folio 46 of the Gradual. The initial E begins the Introit to the Mass for Epiphany, which is celebrated on 6 January: Ecce advenit Dominator Dominus (Behold the Lord the Ruler is come). The eldest Magus kisses but does not touch—his hands are covered—the feet of Christ, an event described in the thirteenth-century mystical text known as the Meditations on the Life of Christ. It was Tertullian (ca. 160–230), the Christian writer, who transformed the Magi into kings. Later, as here, they were also differentiated by age and given halos. In the background an attendant tries to calm the camels. The journey of the Magi is depicted in the lower border.