Initial V: The Ascension

Object Details

Title:

Initial V: The Ascension

Artist/Maker(s):

Designed by Lorenzo Monaco (Italian, about 1370 - 1423 or 1424)

and completed by Zanobi di Benedetto Strozzi (Italian, 1412 - 1468)

and Battista di Biagio Sanguini (Italian, 1393 - 1451)

Culture:

Italian

Date:

designed about 1410; completed about 1431

Medium:

Tempera and gold on parchment

Dimensions:

Leaf: 40.2 x 32.7 cm (15 13/16 x 12 7/8 in.)

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The twelve apostles gather at the center of this letter V and gaze up in amazement at Christ, who rises into heaven on a blue cloud. The upward sweeping motion of the colorful acanthus leaves that climb up the form of the letter reflects and enhances Christ's movement. While the figures' gestures and drapery are naturalistically portrayed, the scene is set against a highly polished gold background, which lends it an otherworldly feeling.

This elaborate initial, which originally began the chant for the feast of the Ascension, came from a large gradual made for the monastery of Santa Maria degli Angeli in Florence, of which Lorenzo Monaco, the designer of this image, was a member. Zanobi di Benedetto Strozzi and Battista di Biagio Sanguini probably painted this initial more than a decade later.

Related Works
Exhibitions
The Bernard H. Breslauer Collection of Manuscript Illuminations (December 9, 1992 to April 4, 1993)
Miniatura del'400 a San Marco (April 1 to June 30, 2003)
Fit for a King: Courtly Manuscripts, 1380-1450 (June 29 to August 29, 2004)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), June 29 to September 5, 2004
Masterpieces in Miniature: Italian Manuscripts from the Middle Ages and Renaissance (March 29 to June 12, 2005)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), March 29 to June 12, 2005
Fra Angelico (October 24, 2005 to January 30, 2006)
  • The Metropolitan Museum of Art, (New York), October 24, 2005 to January 30, 2006
Music for the Masses: Illuminated Choir Books (August 14 to October 28, 2007)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), August 14 to October 28, 2007
Rare Finds: Ten Years of Collecting Manuscripts (February 12 to April 20, 2008)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), February 12 to April 20, 2008
Untold Stories: Collecting and Transforming Medieval Manuscripts (February 26 to May 12, 2013)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), February 26 to May 12, 2013
Related Media
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    Audio: Initial V: The Ascension (Exhibit: UNTOLD_STORIES)