Ms. canon law single leaves written and illuminated in Bologna, Italy, ca. 1330-1335.
Each of the four leaves of M.716 initiates a major division of the Decretales of Pope Gregory IX, with its corresponding miniature: M.716.1 illustrates the Prologue; M.716.2 Book I; M.716.3 Book II; M.716.4 Book III. The location of the opening leaves for Books IV and V, or indeed the remainder of the manuscript, is unknown.
Decoration: M.716.1: recto blank; on verso, 1 2-column miniature, 4 historiated initials, intertextual marginal vignettes; M.716.2: on recto 1 2-column miniature, 1 historiated initial, and historiated intertextual marginal vignettes illustrating the Doctrine of the Trinity and aspects of the Catholic Faith; on verso: 1 small miniature of the Nativity and Annunciation to the Shepherds; M.716.3: 1 1-column miniature, 2 historiated initials, historiated intertextual marginal vignettes; M.716.4: 1 2-column miniature, 2 historiated initials, historiated intertextual marginal vignettes.
Artist: Master of 1328.
Texts: M.716.1: Decretales of Pope Gregory IX, Prologue incipit; M.716.2: Text and gloss of Bernardo Bottoni on the recto continue the prologue to the Decretales initiated on the verso of M.716.1; at the lower right-hand text column is the rubric for the incipit to Book I: De summa trinitate et fide catholica. On the verso, the rubricated incipit is repeated at the top of the left-hand column, and the text for Title 1, Chapter 1 opens Firmiter credimus et simpliciter confitemur. (M.716.2 was originally the recto page of the elaborate double opening for this text with M.716.1, a configuration first devised around the end of the thirteenth century and used by artists working in the Byzantinizing style. The earliest illuminated manuscripts of this text customarily began with the prefacio and its illustration on the recto of the first folio, the decoration for Book I falling on its verso.); M.716.3: Decretales, Book II incipit; M.716.4: Decretales, Book III incipit.
This leaf, and three others in the Morgan, are all that remain of a once splendid copy of Gregory's Decretals. The frontispieces for Books IV and V may yet turn up. This leaf was the beginning of Book III, dealing in part with the participation of the lay congregation in the Mass, the subject of the large miniature. Within the initial U (of ut) a monk receives his tonsure, while in the border below is an unusual depiction of people swimming. The Master of 1328 was one of the finest Bolognese artists before Niccolò da Bologna. His name is derived from the register he made in that year for the Haberdashers of Bologna (Bologna, Museo Civico Medievale, MS. 633).