Gradual of the Chapter of Udine

  • S. XIV (second half); parchment; mm 567 x 382; ff. II, 173, II’
  • Udine, ‘Archivio Capitolare’, ms. 23

A codex of the school of Bologna that, according to tradition, the parish church of Gemona received as a present by the patriarch Bertrand of Saint-Geniès.

This is the third and final Temporale volume of a Gradual that includes mss. 29, 25 and 19, too. There can be specifically found the chants to be sung during the masses from Easter to the 23rd after-Pentecost Sunday. The illuminated initials heading the introits exhibit stylistic features and illustrative choices that are similar to those of the other volumes of this series. The eye is caught by the invention originality of the A in Aqua sapiencie potavit eos [f. VIv (5v)], the initial of the third after-Easter feria, where the transverse stroke of the letter is formed by the bodies of two fishes which are held by a monkey in the middle. Whereas fishes can be referred to that chant words, monkey is still a mere divertissement, as it is the scene of a donkey-headed friar with a book in his hand together with a griffon that makes the body of the initial V in Victricem manum tuam [f. XIv (10v)], the chant of the fifth feria. Neither are lacking here zoomorphic initials, such as the I shaped as a canid [f. IVr (3r)], or kaleidoscopic ones, such as the P on f. CXXXIr (129r) consisting of a bird in human clothes and a winged drake. Even though the manufacturing of this volume, as well as of the other volumes of the series, cannot be evidenced as specially done for the Cathedral Chapter of Udine, the performing masters were apparently taking part in the post-Vitalesque painting experiences of the Friulian area.

Gradual, Ascension, introit, f. 38r, initial V with Christ’s Ascension

Gradual, Ascension, introit, f. 38r, initial V with Christ’s Ascension

Gradual, after-Easter 5th Feria, introit, f. 10v, with anthro-zoomorphic initial V

Gradual, after-Easter 5th Feria, introit, f. 10v, with anthro-zoomorphic initial V

 Gradual, after-Easter 3rd Feria, introit, f. 5v (initial A with a monkey holding two fishes)

Gradual, after-Easter 3rd Feria, introit, f. 5v (initial A with a monkey holding two fishes)

Leave a Comment