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Initial S: Pentecost
Niccolò di Giacomo da Bologna (Italian, active 1349 - 1403)
Bologna, Italy (Place Created)
Tempera and gold on parchment
Ms. 86 (2004.48), recto
Leaf: 21.6 × 21 cm (8 1/2 × 8 1/4 in.)
This illumination shows Pentecost, the moment in which the Holy Spirit descends upon the twelve apostles in order to give them the ability to speak foreign languages so they might preach throughout the world. Although all twelve apostles are shown, sometimes only a forehead or a hint of a nose indicates the body. The narrative style of the artist, Niccolò da Bologna, was often crowded and intense. His solid, squat figures are compressed into the small space of the initial, overlapping one another. This cutting is one of twenty known large historiated initials made for a choir book commissioned by the Carthusian monastery of Santo Spirito in Lucca.
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