Antiphonal of St. Anthony the Abbot’s church of Udine

  • S. XIV, parchment, mm 560 x 375; ff. I, 162, II
  • Udine, ‘Archivio Capitolare’, ms. 20

The coats of arms of the Antonines’ General, Ponce (or Pierre) II Mitte (1370-1374) or Bertrand Mitte (1374-1389), and of the family Marra of Naples allow to individuate the patrons of an Antiphonal that probably came to Friuli in the first half of the fifteenth century.

The codex is part of a four-volume Antiphonal currently marked as mss. 20, 24, 28 and 30 of the ‘Archivio Capitolare’ of Udine, the output of the same workshop that had produced also ms 26 (Gradual for the Saints’ feasts). The Antiphonal, as well as the Gradual, was destined to a church of the Hospital Brothers of St. Anthony of Vienne, as it is evidenced by the ms. 30 initial rubric (Ad honorem omnipotentis dei et beatissime virginis Marie et beati Antonii abatis. Incipit antiphonarium secundum consuetudinem sancte romane ecclesie) and by the constant presence of this order’s symbol, the “T” (tau), inside a scutcheon, recurring in the lower edge of many leaves. This church has been identified with St. Anthony the Abbot’s at Foria, in Naples, and the patron with Giovanni Guidotti, the order’s preceptor in the early Seventies; the coats of arms are those of the families Mitte and Della Marra, who were tied to the order of St. Anthony of Vienne. The decorative work of gothic Neapolitan illuminators is herein recognizable, as of the Master of the Crucifixion of Avignon: a hand which was influenced by the manners of the Master of the ‘Cini’ Resurrection, and another hand of a miniaturist from the Abruzzi. This series of volumes could have reached Friuli in the fifteenth century through the book exchanges within the Hospital order, since a preceptory of St. Anthony the Abbot is proved having been in Udine at least until 1475, and the Neapolitan convent was already declining since the half of that same century and was closed in 1486. The former convent, church and hospital of the Antonines were built into the current premises of the patriarchal palace of Udine and these codices were subsequently transferred to the local Archives of the Chapter (‘Archivio Capitolare’).

f. 134r, Antiphonal from Easter to Advent Sunday, (detail, initial A with Giuditta and Oloferne)

f. 134r, Antiphonal from Easter to Advent Sunday, (detail, initial A with Giuditta and Oloferne)

f. 72r, Antiphonal from Easter to Advent Sunday, (detail, initial A with Praying Apostles)

f. 72r, Antiphonal from Easter to Advent Sunday, (detail, initial A with Praying Apostles)

Detail of the Antonine tau symbol (inside a scutcheon) in the Antiphonal from Easter to Advent Sunday

Detail of the Antonine tau symbol (inside a scutcheon) in the Antiphonal from Easter to Advent Sunday

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