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Antonio da Monza
Italian, Rome, late 1400s or early 1500s
Tempera colors, gold leaf, and ink on parchment bound between original wood boards covered with brown leather

Leaf: 25 5/16 x 17 1/8 in.

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This gradual, measuring over two feet tall, contains the sung parts of the Mass. The large size was deliberate: it enabled a group of singers standing before it to read the notes and words. The saints invoked in the litany suggest that the gradual was made for the Franciscan church of Santa Maria in Aracoeli in Rome. The illuminator Antonio da Monza enlivened the border of the manuscript's most elaborate large page with luxurious small-scale decoration that encourages close examination. The antique motifs he used in the border reveal the profound influence of antiquities upon Renaissance artists. After artists rediscovered the Golden House built by the emperor Nero in Rome, and its Fourth Style wall painting, they adopted its grotesques and candelabra motifs.

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