National Gallery of Art, Masterpieces in Miniature: Italian Manuscript Illumincations from the J. Paul Getty Museum
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Regions: Ferrara, Mantua, and the Veneto (1 of 2)

Image:  Attributed to Pisanello and Attributed to Master of the Antiphonal Q of San Giorgio Maggiore
Initial S: The Conversion of Saint Paul, probably Ferrara or Mantua, c. 1440-1450
cutting from a gradual
Cutting: 14.1 x 8.9 cm (5 9/16 x 3 1/2)
The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, Ms. 41, verso, 91.MS.5
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In the fifteenth century, the small courts of northeastern Italy—particularly those at Ferrara and Mantua—became key centers of artistic innovation, partly under the influence of two artists from the region of the Veneto: Pisanello (c. 1395-1455) and Andrea Mantegna (c. 1431-1506). The great itinerant court artist Pisanello, beloved at the courts of the Gonzaga and Este families, is known primarily as a painter. But he was also enormously influential on manuscript illumination in Ferrara and the Veneto and he seems to have occasionally worked on manuscripts himself. One such case is an initial from a choirbook that originally introduced the hymn sung on the feast of the Conversion of Saint Paul. This extraordinary illumination represents a Renaissance prince and his military retinue as though they were present at the biblical event of the conversion of Saul, the moment that catalyzes Saul's acceptance of Christianity, when he changes his name to Paul. In the lower half of the initial he falls from his horse, having been blinded by a heavenly vision. Pisanello’s skill as an animal painter is evidenced by the splendidly drawn and painted steed. He was also famous for his portrait medals, such as Niccolò Piccinino, Condottiere and Don Iñigo d’Avalos.

Regions: Ferrara, Mantua, and the Veneto (2 of 2)image: forward arrow image: back arrowRegions: Lombardy and the Duchy of Milan (2 of 2)

image: National Gallery of Art image: Manuscripts in Miniature: Italian Manuscripts Illumination from the J. Paul Getty Museum