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Nicolò di giacomo da bologna (c.1320-c.1403), a set of 12 calendar
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Descrizione dell'oggetto

6 double-sided cuttings, each piece about 100mm. by up to 140mm., each side with a roundel 74mm. in diameter including liquid gold borders, enclosing miniatures in full colours and burnished gold, slight spots of rubbing and abrasion, the names of the months added in Italian in an eighteenth-century hand, arranged in two rows of three pieces each, in two double-sided frames\nThis is a complete set of large secular Calendar illustrations, securely attributable to the most celebrated Italian illuminator of the late fourteenth century, Nicolò di Giacomo di Nascimbene, of Bologna (cf. F. Pasut in Dizionario biografico dei miniatori italiani, ed. M. Bollati, 2004, pp.827-32, with huge bibliography).  The present miniatures appear to be unrecorded but stylistically they can be dated to Nicolò’s mature period around 1380-90.  Within spaces each about the size of the bases of a wine-glass, the artist has conjured a complete annual farming cycle with the pathos and humour of the contrasting social classes and a skilful adaptation of the signs of the zodiac into participation in the scenes.  The pictures must have been cut from the lower margins of a Calendar of extraordinary luxury and size.  These would be far too big for a conventional Book of Hours; perhaps a supremely expensive Missal might have had pictures on this scale.  If so, one would have expected other cuttings to be known from the same book.  It may have simply been a Calendar on its own.  A comparable example is New York, Morgan Library, M.511, a 6-leaf manuscript Calendar, 343mm. by 229mm., made in Bologna in the second quarter of the fourteenth century, with large Calendar roundels by the so-called Master of B18 (cf. J. de Veer-Langezaal, ‘Un calendario bolognese ad uso domenicano nella Pierpont Morgan Library di New York: un confronto stilistico’, Gli ultramontani, Studi Belgi e Olandesi per il IX centenario dell’Alma Mater Bolognese, 1990, pp.19-34).  The tradition of manuscript illumination in roundels is uniquely attested in Bologna, including scenes in thirteenth-century Bibles and Calendar pictures in Psalters, such as Bologna, Biblioteca Universitaria, cod.346, illuminated by the Gerona Master.\n\nThe subjects are:\n\n(1) January, a grey-bearded man seated in a carved wooden canopied chair warming his bare feet by a fire; a peddler on the right dressed in winter clothes with a traveller’s staff and carrying on his shoulders a barrel from which he has removed the end so that water spills to the ground; a red sun above.\n\n(2) February (on the verso of the January cutting), a fisherman dressed in waterproof clothing and big hat, seated on a rock and holding a fishing rod with a fish on the line and with his left hand placed on a pot beside him laced around in rope; three types of fish in the dark water behind him; a red sun above.\n\n(3) March,  a peasant in short red tunic and big boots blowing two hunting horns in a field beside a tree; a ram lying beside him; a red sun above.\n\n(4) April (on the verso of the March cutting), a nobleman richly dressed with gold buttons and a money-belt, playing a viol to a seated ox, which gazes up enraptured; a red sun above.\n\n(5) May, the same or another nobleman on horseback riding to hounds, a hawk on his arm, the horse turning back to watch two hounds running beside it; two lovers embracing, a bearded peasant and a maiden in a long red dress trimmed in gold; a red sun above.\n\n(6) June (on the verso of the May cutting), a peasant harvesting, wearing a white smock and boots and a straw sunhat, crouching as he grasps and cuts the tall corn; a crab in the field on the right; a red sun above.\n\n(7) July, a similar but now-bearded peasant threshing corn, his boots removed, his smock lifting up as he raises his flail (revealing no underwear), corn beneath his feet; a lion lying watching on the right; a red sun above.\n\n(8) August (on the verso of the July cutting), a cooper dressed in black with black hat, raising a mallet to hammer the top of a barrel, another barrel lying in the foreground; a long-haired young woman in a pied red and pink dress standing with her arms crossed over her breast; a red sun above.\n\n(9) September, a vintner cutting bunches of grapes and trimming them as he puts them into in a basket, as another man lifts a full basket onto his shoulders; a pair of gold scales on the right; a red sun above.\n\n(10) October (on the verso of the September cutting), two peasants in black hats, one in a white smock scratching at a rocky hillside with a digging tool, the other in black scattering seeds from a basket held over his arm; a scorpion on the hillside at the upper right; a red sun above.\n\n(11) November, a swineherd raising a club and knocking down a stream of acorns from a leaning tree, a pig at his feet munching contentedly; a grey-bearded centaur lying on the right and aiming an arrow into the sky; a red sun above.\n\n(12) December (on the verso of the November cutting), a butcher hunched up over a pig which he holds between his knees as he cuts its throat and prepares to collect the blood in a deep dish, with a second butcher behind carrying away a carcass; a unicorn (representing Capricorn) lying on the hillside to the right; a red sun above.
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*Nota: il prezzo non corrisponde al valore odierno, ma si riferisce soltanto al reale prezzo di aggiudicazione al momento dell'acquisto.

*Nota: il prezzo non corrisponde al valore odierno, ma si riferisce soltanto al reale prezzo di aggiudicazione al momento dell'acquisto.


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