National Gallery of Art, Masterpieces in Miniature: Italian Manuscript Illumincations from the J. Paul Getty Museum
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Regions: Southern Italy (2 of 2)

Image: Italian 14th Century, The Vision of Zechariah, Sicily, c. 1300, cutting from a book of Old Testament prophets, Cutting: 7.3 x 17.5 cm (2 7/8 x 6 7/8), The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, Ms. 35, leaf 2, 88.MS.125.2
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The island of Sicily, poised between southern Europe and what had been Roman North Africa, was situated on the Mediterranean trade routes. In the High Middle Ages both Sicily and southern Italy had a number of Greek settlements. Greek artists worked there in the Byzantine manner of painting and illumination and established one of the prominent styles in the region. The delicate miniatures from a book of the Major and Minor Prophets may have been painted by a Greek artist working in Sicily. The elongated bodies with small heads, hands, and feet reflect the Byzantine style prevalent in Constantinople (present-day Istanbul) in the late 1200s. These miniatures offer evidence of the spread of this court style to Sicily. The Vision of Zechariah gives form to one of several mystical experiences described in the Book of Zechariah that medieval theologians considered to predict the coming of Christ. The prophet sees a man about to mount a red horse, a symbol of those "whom the Lord has sent to walk through the earth."

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