Happy Easter and what better way to celebrate but with these Scenes of Easter by Blognese artists Nerius, ca 14th century. I think that from today this will be one of my favorite Easter images. There is something about medieval blue ink and gold that captures one’s heart and imagination!
This specific work was created for a community of Augustinian monks, for an Antiphonary (a book of plainsong for the Divine Office).
Nerius decorates the letter A. You will notice that the top of the letter is missing. By doing this, by opening it, Nerius exposed the figures to the heavens. Also, do notice that the A’s crossbar separates the earth and the group of singing monks (below) from the realm of heaven, where they obviously gaze (above). In heavens (perhaps as sung to by the monks) we notice God, seated above the clouds, and surrounded by angels.
The tiny detail of the monk’s attire, black habits edged in white at the neck, suggests the Augustinian monks.
The scene weaves the accounts of two Gospels. Following Mark, the women approach the tomb of Jesus to anoint his body but find an angel at his empty tomb. According to Matthew’s report of what happened to two holy women on Easter Sunday, they meet Jesus as they leave.
Nerius executed this masterpiece (I think we can call it like this) using tempera, gold and ink on parchment. It is quite small, measuring at 23.9 cm x 23.8 cm.
Nerius’ signature is identical with the one he left on a legal manuscript for which Bologna, with its great university, was renowned. Thus rendering this artwork as his.
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