October 13th, 1995, Serial No. 00949

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Camaldolese Artists: The Miniaturists

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#item-set-180, Mentions Bernardino Cozzarini (visiting Epiphany Monastery, New Hampshire), Prior General Emanuele Bargellini, Brazil (Mogi), India, Tanzania, 



Before we speak on the miniatures of schools among the Commodolese, I'd like to say a few things. First of all, happy fiesta, it's Commodolese, a rather colorful one. We have a little booklet I got in Italy last time I was there, mostly on the little town in which his hermitage was situated, Frontale. It's not too far from, you probably drove through it in France, and I don't think, usually they don't even notice it, they just go through it and what not, but his body is there, his corpo, his santo. And if you're interested in that, and a little bit about Moricanto, besides the flagellation, it's in our Commodolese section. Also, I wanted to say that I hope maybe sometime during the calendar year of 96 or something comes our way, we'll have an opportunity that I will be able to speak on the Commodolese


houses and get another installment, maybe done that year, so each year we can get a new installment on our history and get things on tape and what not. The six houses that I'm able to do adequate work on, this stuff is mostly in Italian and Latin, a little bit in English, are naturally Commodole itself, Fonte Avellana, San Gregorio, our house in Rome, and then I would do work on three houses that no longer exist as Commodolese but they're very famous, and that would be L'Angeli in Florence, the one we're talking about these days, also San Michele di Murano in Venice, very, very famous for our history, very important, and also the house in Faenza, San Ippolito, which was the seat of government for the Cenobitic Congregation for many, many, many years.


And so those would be the houses I'm aiming at for next year. In conjunction with that, I spoke with Bernardino while he was at Epiphany, talking about this project, and my one handicap is that I don't have a copy of the Annales, which are those nine huge tomes on our history, because part of the Annales contain the day-by-day, month-by-month listings of what's going on in the various houses and whatnot. It's all in Latin, it would be very tedious work, but it would be a good corollary to have that while I'm doing this work on these six houses, and Bernardino has promised to check into a project with the prior general, Emanuele, to fund microfilming the Annales for all our little houses, so they each have a copy.


So he's thinking also Brazil, India, and Tanzania in time, and certainly Epiphany, because Epiphany is the one that's, I'm the one that's asking for it, so we'll see if we can get that through. Also, I imagine each of the large houses would get a copy too, even if they have it, why not have another copy on microfishing? So that may be coming down the line too, Bernardino hasn't gotten back to me on that yet. When we talk about miniaturist painters and the illumination of manuscripts, I don't know an awful lot of the technicalities as to what kind of animal hair did they use on the brushes and how skinny were they, you know, and whatnot. I don't know that type of thing, even though I paint myself and have read books, there's not a lot written on the tools of the illuminators, because they had to work on such a small scale.


I can't imagine how they did it myself so well, especially our Camaldolese painters. But I know a lot about manuscripts themselves, the tones. I was trained as a bookbinder before I came here. I function in that, because all my other work was head work and computer work and teaching and all of that, and I asked for something to do with my hands, and so I became a bookbinder as well. So if you have any questions, we don't need to talk about that today, but later on if you want to talk about manuscript tones and the making of books out of hides, I know all that and I've done some of it. So we can talk about that if you're at all interested. Lawrence. Do you still want me to talk about the experience? When Lawrence was, he was telling me yesterday, when he was in Florence in 1970, this was after a catastrophic flood, if you remember, Lawrence was conscripted into helping to restore


some of the damaged artwork, and Lawrence spent, was it two weeks? One week. Two weeks with q-tips in hand, working on a Don Lorenzo Monaco painting, and we talked about which, you know, to describe it. And here he worked on the famous coronation, the most famous painting by Don Lorenzo, before you even knew his Camaldolese or what Camaldolese was, and now you're Don Lorenzo Monaco. Two things now, just before we begin. I'm wondering if anyone knows what this word in Latin, I'm hoping it's one of the elders, does. The word miniaturism, or miniaturist, comes from the Latin miniare. I didn't know this. Do you know what miniare means? Or is it to, uh, tooths? A bit of tooth, I think it means. Yeah, I had never heard of it before. It means to paint with red, with the color red. And that must have been a technical invention.


I suppose, I mean, maybe it's medieval life. Yeah, it really surprised me. But evidently, a lot of the early miniature, especially floral design and border work was done only in red, the red ink, and that's how the word came to us, just a little tidbit of, what is that word, trivia, trivia. That's why you put that in red. I did. It's true. Also, I just want to mention, and a thought came to me on the throne this morning, that we have a Romualdian precedent to our own commodities activity in miniature painting and in illuminating manuscripts, because the autos, the famous autos, including our Romualdian blessed Otto III, who wanted to be a monk and didn't quite make it.


He died as an emperor. The Ottonian dynasty is known particularly for its patronage and enthusiasm for and of a continuation of Carolingian manuscript illumination. And so we have Ottonian illuminated manuscripts, especially in Germany, which did much of what was done centuries later in our other houses in miniature. Not that we had Romualdians that worked with brush and hand, but at least the emperor was and the one who was patronizing the business. Okay, so today we're going to talk about commodity miniaturist schools, and I want to talk about that term first, first of all, just in general, the school. In general, when people mention, and our most famous school is the one at Liangioli in Florence, when they mention the term or the phrase La Scuola degli Angeli, or the school of the


angels in Florence, they would be referring specifically, because when they use that term other than this usage, it means that a consistent academy of art under the auspices of our monastery of the angels, where various arts were taught and performed with particular characteristics setting them off or their work off as a particular school. So, when the school of blank, blank, blank is used, that's what it means, even in miniaturist schools. But that situation does not exist, or did not exist, in reference to our commodities schools, as we call them, except for very minor periods during our history when things happened to jive, and a certain artists were all alive.


And so, we can talk about a few years where you could use the school of the angels in that sense, when Don Lorenzo Monaco was alive, and the other ones had just passed on or were nearing their dotage. And so, we have a workshop set up where there are, obviously, works which are by Silvestro or Simone, and it has a commodities stamp on it, an artistic stamp on it. But, to say that we had a school for decades and decades, let alone centuries, is not true. In fact, both Simone, commodities, and our Don Lorenzo, who we spoke of yesterday, both worked outside the monastery. And when we're talking of a school, you're talking about something that actually is in a monastery.


For instance, the school of the angels would have to have been at the ancients. And they had a workshop in there, and they had artistic works going on, but they didn't have a school in that technical sense. But we do date miniaturist paintings of some sort, and of the other arts, going on at the Ancia. From as early as 1330, under prior Filippo Nelli, N-E-L-L-I, but it doesn't carry the message that usually that phrase does. Okay, so in the early 1370s until the 1420s, so that's basically the time we're looking at, so 50 years, we had a whole body of scribes, illuminators, and miniaturists. Hard at work, at, in, and outside, around our monastery of the angels.


We're only going to be talking about the miniaturists themselves. The scribes were the ones who did the calligraphy, the notation itself, if they're doing notes, or copying text of any sort. Those are the scribes. And this, I mean, you can see it's departmentalized. Manuscripts went from section to section within school. Illuminators were more working with, for instance, border work, a lot of the busy work, busy painting, busy work type painting, filling in the blanks and stuff like that. Paint-by-number manuscript work, like the big letters to begin a section, the illuminator would be doing that. The miniaturists were actually doing wonderful little teeny paintings in elaborate, tiny


scale paintings in these works, often narrative scenes, so an action depicting a whole little story going on. From the saint's life or whatever. Often prophets show up in our own Kamaldi heritage. They did an awful lot of prophet miniature painting, many of which are in this country. Why did they, why were they doing this? Well, first of all, they were doing their own liturgical books for their own house, and that's how it got started. And then they needed to do them for their dependencies at the angels. For instance, the two churches I mentioned yesterday that Lorenzo Monaco did major works that ended up in the Uffizi Gallery in New Orleans, were dependent churches, dependent


upon, for a time anyway, upon our monastery of Iangeli in Florence. And so they did manuscripts, they did choir books for them also. And when we're talking about choir books, we can talk about more than one, you know. We can talk about graduales and antiphonales and diurnals, and so there are various sets that can be done, that they could be doing for these places. Referring to the three main artists in this work, that is Don Lorenzo Monaco, and the two famous ones that we can pull off his cards, we saw in the bookstores in Viestro and Cimolene. Kenter, who is the author of this rather large tomb that Gregory was looking at just before we began, an excellent work. This is one Elrod gave to us as a gift. This song came through a friend of Kent's.


He was given to Bethel of Damaris, unless Elrod has changed his name. What was I saying? Oh, he writes of these three famous ones. The work of these two men, that is Silvestro and Cimolene, so completely dominated the production of illuminated manuscripts in Florence in the last quarter of the 14th century, as did that of their commodity successor Lorenzo in the first quarter of the 15th century, that the concept of a scuola degli angeli, so a school of the angels, understood not as referring to a particular scriptorium, but as a term of convenience. So, in other words, he's just saying what I explained. So he says it's not entirely inappropriate to use that term, but be careful when you're reading that being used that you don't read into it what did not exist in the Commodolese houses.


In other words, the phrase refers mainly to a general work being done by Commodolese painters, and most of our miniaturist painters were very famous also for huge panel work as well, of which I will speak a little bit later. I already talked about Lorenzo in that frame. But we're talking about basically a 50-year period, although it overlaps, as you see, with other famous painters in our heritage. Okay, who are the most famous? Well, Don Giacomo de Francesca Fiorentina, Jim the Florentine, Jim from Florence. We don't have a birthday, he died in 1396. Very, very famous. And he's the one who helped train these others who have come along. There is the artist-historian Vasari.


We have his Lives of the Artist in the library. It's through him that we hear that the hands, that is, the physical hands of Don Giacomo and, is it Simone or Silvestro, Silvestro, and the hands of Silvestro were cut off after they died and were venerated in a shrine in the Monasterio di Bianchino. Come all these sources and say, don't listen to this, it's not true. But the heritage has come down that, at least before the suppressions, their hands were enshrined because their work was so, not just beautiful, but spiritual, spiritually uplifting. It could be true. Who knows? Anyway, he was a scribe to begin with, so he was very good. Even the best letters were told in his lifetime, and he was renowned throughout Italy, even better than the ones in Venice, and seen.


Vasari says, a better writer of large letters than any who lived either before or after him, not only in Tuscany, but in all of Europe. Well, Vasari often was speaking in hyperbole, but the point is well taken, that he had quite quite a reputation for drawing, calligraphy, and illumination of large letters. He worked in Rome and in our houses in Venice, especially both the two main historical houses in Venice, St. Matthew and St. Michael, both of which were very famous in history, and they both had their ups and downs, and both were centers of culture and education for our congregation. When St. Michael still stands, as I mentioned, he was standing with the Franciscans, and St. Matthew's was torn down right to the stone. They demolished the thing quickly when the suppressions came, for reasons unknown, other


than greed, I mean. And so there's nothing, absolutely nothing left of St. Matthew's, tragedy. Anyway, he worked in both of those houses, and for them, on their books. He also did 20 large tomes. Now we're talking large tomes, we're talking, remember, huge choir books, for the monastery of the Anglic itself. So one set of the choir books he did, or he was responsible for with workers under him. Second, Don Silvestro de' Gherarducci, he lived for 60 years, he was an eminent man. He was born, you remember that little parish that Don Lorenzo Monaco grew up in, that I mentioned yesterday, St. Michael Visdomini, or Visdomini in Florence? He was born there. And there are other famous Romans who come from that same parish. He entered the monastery of the Angeli at the age of nine, and he made his life profession


at the age of 13. Things were a little different then. He became subprior, and later he became prior, we're speaking of a time when there is no abbot here, it's still a hermitage, by the way, that I was surprised by Butler's use in reference to Peter Damian as abbot of Fonte Avalana. Not by me. We didn't have any abbots at that time, and it's through Peter Damian's work that the Eremo at Camaldoli and Rudolf decided not to have abbots. It's through Peter Damian and Fonte Avalana that they came to that decision. They're the only ones, basically, but to refer to Peter Damian as abbot is a bit embarrassing. He was both a miniaturist painter and working on large panels, so like Florenzo.


And did I say he was prior? Yes, he was elected prior in 1397. So he was 58 years old, and it killed him two years later. No, no, I don't know. He lived for two years, and then maybe he may have been ailing, and that's why they elected him. I don't know. I don't know the historical circumstances. Sometimes they would elect somebody whom they knew would not change too many things, because they were ailing or whatever. In any order. I mean, that was common in history. Like Florenzo, he finds his roots, too, in Sienese painting. So in the school of Siena, and the critics point to his decorative abilities and the artistic conventions he used in iconography. So when he's depicting saints, he depicts them certain ways that point right to Siena. That's whom he's following. And they think he quite possibly trained in the workshop of this fellow, another J.


Pellicciario. And he was also influenced in Florence. They can find some influence coming from Florence. Again, like Lorenzo later on. And the two Cioni's are influencing Silvestro. He was resident in the monastery, but he also functioned in other houses in our congregation. But he is one who only would work for Camaloli's houses. So that's all he did was do choir books for our own houses. And possibly with one exception. They haven't decided yet. There may be some Benedictine nuns in San Piero Maggiore, who has some of his work.


And he may have done it originally for them. He also did major paintings in our Camaloli's houses. And some of these are in the United States. I'll mention that in just a minute. He also did some paintings for San Michele di Murano, our house in Venice. There's a whole antiphonary of his in Baltimore. Did you know that? You've been to the Walters Art House. Next time you get a chance for us, just look over the antiphonary. The whole thing. This is unique. Because so many of the stuff that was taken out of Italy was done so page by page. They didn't get whole manuscripts off because there was an incredibly high tariff one had to pay, even in the earlier centuries, when you were buying and pulling out of the country


an illustrated manuscript. And so they got around that by ripping them, I mean, cutting them all off. And taking them out page by page. It's much easier to smuggle, too, page by page. So I suppose that was another reason for doing it, if you could get away with it. So, you know, in the holdings, like in the United States, if you get to the meetings I'm going to mention, you may only find a page with an illumination on it or something. This is, yes. You've got a page back there. Yes. Where did you get that from? That was in gold, I'd say. On the street or in the museum? Oh, really? No. Okay. Anyway, you should check that before it's run out. Next time you're there. There's also at the Art Institute of Chicago. I'm just going to list these. There are both, some of these are paintings and some of them are just illuminations. But you want to make, in the back of your, in your memory bag, just remember these. If you have a chance and you're at the museum, ah, there's one of our people here.


The Cleveland Museum of Art has a lot of this particular artist. Denver Art Museum has a Man of Sorrows, it's called. Are you familiar with that? Do you want to look that up next time you're there? Indianapolis, Indianapolis, Indianapolis, has one of these famous Madonnas of Humility, sort of sad looking Mary. Ah, which became, you know, it wasn't just Lorenzo Monaco, all of these were famous in Florence for doing pensive Madonnas or pensive Marys. The Nelson-Atkins Museum, again in Kansas City, I've seen these. They have St. James and St. Andrew, and I've seen those. The Met in New York, the Met has something of everybody, and so you can count on that. The Pierpont Morgan Library has many, many illuminations of the Camomile painters, especially


prophets, and I've seen them. Luckily, when I was, it was in 1981, and I went up from St. Louis where I was doing my master's, anyway, I went up to New York for Christmas holidays and stayed with a psychologist friend of mine in New York. And we just happened to catch a showing of the illuminations from the Pierpont Morgan holdings, and there were all kinds of, and I remember seeing the Camaldolese, but I didn't know Sylvester from Simone or whatever, but I saw them, and they were all beautiful, Camaldolese and non-Camaldolese illuminations. That was a nice opportunity for me. Also, in San Francisco, we have a Madonna of humility, and that I've seen, of Sylvester. In which museum? Fine Arts. Yeah, I've seen that. Don Simone, Don Simone dying in 1437, again, it's another one we don't have his exact


birthday, which is odd, because when you have these monks, we have the annals, and we have the documentation of a lot of it, but so often, well, I suppose it happens nowadays too, so often exact dates and whatnot don't get down somehow. Anyway, he died in 1437, so you see he's living through, he's with Lorenzo, and also notice that Lorenzo, when did I say he left the monastery? Right at the end of the 90s, so he obviously had some dealings with Sylvester and worked on things with Sylvester, so these three guys are together in one way or another, and forming one another in this, what becomes a major Camaldolese influence on Florentine art. Simone was born in Siena, and he was also trained there as an artist, so you're talking


about real Sienese influence there. He had a very strong Sienese style, and they point to his major formator as Ambrogio Lorenzetti, and I've run across that name a number of times. By the way, I'm not going to talk about this unless we have time, but these are the books we have here that I've laid out there, including this one in brown, by brown, which is a nice little handy thing I bought from the John Paul Getty Museum in Santa Monica, and it's a nice little, in dictionary form, if you want to look up codicil or something, it's under C, and it gives you a nice, and it's all, it's a dictionary of terms regarding illumination manuscripts, nice little handy tool. These are the ones you want to look these up yourself if you're interested in our stuff


from this time, illumination. Simone flourished from 1380 to 1400, so, and then it was sort of less so during his last few years. This one, Simone was not at all like Silvestro. Silvestro stayed at home or in another Camali's monastery and only painted for Camali. Simone is all over the place, and we know that he had a broad range of patrons, both secular and religious, and only rarely, this is a quote, only rarely included monasteries of his own order, completely the opposite. We know he worked largely for a number of the religious orders in Florence, the Valambrosians, the Carmelites, the Olivetans, Franciscans, and various secular institutes. We also know he worked in the cities of Bologna and Arezzo and Pisa, especially for Franciscan


monasteries, and also Olivetans, and a few Camaldolese monasteries. Notice that his style is a little different. His style is very, very clear and simple, more so than Silvestro. He also is famous for doing a divine comedy, the Dante's Divine Comedy, which we have in States, in whole. If you ever have a chance, you know, Robert, if you come out sometime and we have the time, it would be well worth our time and energy to go down to Yale. In their rare book room, they have this. They have Simone's complete divine comedy illustrator, and we could probably talk our way into seeing him. He did it in the year 1398. So, where else can you find Simone? You can find an entire book of Graduale in Chicago at the Newberry Library.


I've never heard of it. It must be a manuscript library. Yale University, as I just mentioned. There are some private collections that doesn't help us at all. Brooklyn Museum, Columbia University, but that one is questionable. The Met, there's a St. Lawrence done by Simone at the Met in New York, and Philadelphia. I'm going to dare to listen here today. Philadelphia has St. Peter, Bonaventure, and Francis of Assisi done by Simone. Okay, on to Don Lorenzo. I've talked about Lorenzo, especially as panel painter yesterday. Today, it's good to mention he was also an accomplished miniaturist. He worked under Silvestro and maybe Simone. We know he worked under Silvestro, at least for a while. We also know that he did many, many choir book miniatures, and at one point collaborated


with Fra Angelico at his workshop on choir books where they were behind schedule, and helped him out to get it done reasonably on time. This is from Eisenberg, whom I was quoting from yesterday. For over two decades, an important activity of the workshop was the painting of images of the Madonna for both institutional and private devotions. Lorenzo Bonaco seems to, maybe this is worth that term, the Madonna of Humility. The paintings from the hundreds of them, maybe that's why. Lorenzo seems to have provided designs for execution by workshop assistants from the outside, the onset, of his prolific and continuous production of Madonnas. So he more or less didn't paint Madonnas. He just set up a how-to, and the workshop did it. He focused his energies on panel painting and miniature painting.


This is from Cantor, the top book there. More than any other painter of his generation, Lorenzo was alert to the innovations of two Florentine artists, Lorenzo Ghiberti and Gerardo Stannina. Gerardo Stannina allowed him to study our art history. It's always coming up. You want to say something about Ghiberti? Aren't those his famous bronze doors? Aren't they Ghiberti? Or am I thinking of somebody else? Yeah, no, it's supposed to be his, yeah. And San Francisco's great cathedral has supposedly perfect, I don't know, replicas of it. I always thought of him as a sculptor. That's why I'm a little puzzled. Yeah, no, those are his doors. I know you just love those things. That's why I'm setting you up for this comment. I like them too, very much so.


His work, by the way, is often turned on the new Gothic, in terms of his miniaturist paintings, especially, the new Gothic. This is in line when Lorenzo is mentioned in terms of, or in relation to, Ghiberti or Stannina, then the new Gothic. So it's all three of these are talking generically about a new movement. And they see Lorenzo in that. That Lorenzo isn't his most famous thing people have to say about him is that he has a new Gothic. No, it's only in relation to this influence. Okay, others who were mentioned, who have been mentioned in our history as miniaturists or miniaturist schools. Well, we know of Don Niccolo Rosselli.


And in fact, one of our newly acquired books has nice, nice in color photographs of some Rossellis. We know that he worked in Siena, in our houses in Florence and Murano. And we know that he was highly esteemed and that he died in 1471. At this point, we don't know anything more. Now, I haven't had a chance to go through these new books text-wise, and I look forward to it because there may be something actually on Rosselli that this woman has been able to track down, this Don Conno, David Don Conno, has done, has been the head editor of these works. We also know there was a famous Comando di's miniaturist named Simone, another Simone, Simone


Stefani, who died in 1457, the same date as the other Simone. And we don't know anything else about him. We just know that there were two at that time. Obviously, one overshadowed the other completely because we don't know anything about him except that he was an accomplished painter. The next one, Don Giuliano Amadei, we don't have any dates on it. It's odd because we know various things about his life. We know that he was reportedly a master painter at Florence, at the Angeli. He was there for a while, and then he became an abbot. He's one of our people, Comando di's, who actually became one of the commendum abbots at three of our houses, at Santa Maria in Gravi, so that's near Arezzo, isn't it? Just on the outskirts of Arezzo, I think, or it was, and the Abbey of Agnano, and then


Valdicastro, where our founder Ronald died. Did you get to go to Valdicastro? No? Next time. He was abbot at all three of those places, a busy fellow. I mean, first of all, he's an artist. He's doing this other stuff. There is some controversy about him because we don't know an awful lot. We do have one of his triptychs in a church at Tifi, T-I-F-I. I have no idea where that is. I haven't been in any of this, but I put it down in case anyone else did. We have a triptych done by him. Why is he a point of controversy? Well, I talked to Ugo Fossa, our prior at Comando di, about miniaturistics while I was there. By the way, I have a lot of sources that I didn't put up here. They're all in Italian. That's why I didn't list them here. I was speaking with Don Ugo about our miniaturists, and he says, he claims that in years to come,


we are going to discover, hopefully, that he is the best and the supreme miniaturist. I couldn't tell if he was pulling my leg or serious. I said, well, can you tell me anything about him? Can you point me to any direction? I had already found two columns in some artistic journal on Amede. That's all he knew of, too. I said, well, how can you tell that this was the greatest of the greats regarding our miniaturists and that we're going to discover this? You know Ugo, he just nodded sagely and said, you'll see. He didn't explain, so I don't know. There is controversy about him as a person, also. He was evidently kind of a strict and rather authoritarian abbot, and some things about


him evidently were problematic. I don't know what the sources are for these. There must be something in the Annales, but I haven't looked them up. There is a fellow who did work, a fellow, an American, or he's American or English, named Garrison, who did work on a possible miniaturist school at Comandoli itself in the 10 and 1100s. That's early. I mean, that predates all the rest of our miniaturist work in the early 1800s. But there's no written proof of anything going on in that regard. This is all hypothesis on his part. Until we reach those two recluses that I mentioned yesterday. So Don Simone di Comandoli and Don Pellegrino di Comandoli, these two recluses were doing everything wonderful and doing it wonderfully at Comandoli and had quite a reputation.


That's in the mid-1200s. So we know in the mid-1200s, because one of their activities was illuminating the choir books for Comandoli, that that was going on. Well, it makes sense that it was probably going on before then, too. Illumination had been going on for centuries, and why would one think that Simone and Pellegrino necessarily began it at Comandoli? Garrison's hypothesis is more in connection with the city of Arezzo itself, because there was a miniaturist school in Arezzo, which was working in the 1100s, and actually it was a rather thriving school. And this fellow Garrison goes through his line of thought that there was an awful lot of activity between Arezzo and Comandoli, and Comandoli and Florence, so Florence, Arezzo,


and Comandoli. And if Arezzo had miniaturist paintings, painting going on in a thriving way, and Florence did, not necessarily. Comandoli is at that time, obviously. We're talking 1100s. But it's going on in Florence. Why not? Why now? And then he points to other things, and he tries to bring the puzzle together, and I don't think it quite comes off. You still end up with the hypothesis, it as a hypothesis. And there's no proof. But again, one can say, well, why not? And if it's going on in the mid-1200s, why wasn't it going on in the 1100s? But they weren't famous for it, and there's no evidence for it. And of course, because of the suppressions and what they did to us, we don't have, we don't have all these wonderful manuscripts. You could find a lot of them in Polpi, Arezzo, Bibiena has a little bit. Or they came in, the local towns came in and carted off our manuscripts and our choir books


and whatnot. And you can see some of these things in these cities, but we don't have them anymore. And so if anybody's going to prove this hypothesis, it won't be done at Comandoli. We also know that there was some illumination work going on at Forte Avalana and also at Murano. We know quite a bit was being done at San Michele, St. Michael of Murano, that famous house. And we also have another, yes? Just a thought about that. I want to go with this mysterious subject. Uh-huh, about Giuliano. You know, we shouldn't have any manuscripts at Comandoli because it's illegal to have them. But I'm told on the slide that we do. And he's not in touch himself. It could have something to do with that. But I'll go for Hermitage. We have some things restored or hidden away.


That haven't been written on, whatnot. Yeah, we can't tell anyone. Well, it's because he seemed quite serious about it. He just said, sort of sagely, ci vediamo, we'll see. So I just assumed at that moment that he was going to do something at some point, whether he would publish it or not. But at least we would see in our own heritage what he had to offer regarding that. That's what I was understanding. But he didn't say that. Now, that's interesting. Uh, we have various references to a number of other Comandolis who are less famous than the ones I've treated. And I've listed them here. Fra Mauro is listed, our famous cosmographer who was doing the world maps and whatnot. Because his work was miniature work, to a great extent. He was a fantastic colorist. He was known as such.


And this fellow, Don Francesco da Querso, worked with Mauro on his little miniatures and his illuminations on these mappa mundi and other things he was doing. Mauro Latti, I'm forgetting what Don Mauro Latti is on. He's famous for something else in our history. I mean, it's in another field, not art. And he also did illumination and miniature work. Also, look at this. How's this for a Comandolis name? Felice Pavoni. Here we have happy peacocks of Venice. That's his name, Felice Pavoni. Don Benedetto Zani, I don't know anything about him other than one reference to some work he did in our Illumination Houses. And this Niccolo da Tomenzo, I don't know anything about him either except running across


a reference or two. So, any discussion questions? What was their workload per day, do you think? Did they leave any likely work in three hours, five hours? Well, what I do know is they worked hard. I mean, there's evidence of that, statements of that. And that, like if they said, well, do this set of choir books and could you have it done in two years' time? That they were, I mean, these were long projects. And that's why they got whole sets of assistants and artisans doing the less dramatic work just to keep the process going. So, they had a number of stages in the process. And remember, at this time, we're still working with, we're not working with paper as such. We're working with parchment. And this is at a time where they're still doing parchment by taking animal hides, until


the 16th century, animal hides and soaking them in vats of lye and stretching them out, hanging them out and skinning away most of the animal material and stuff to a very thin, and then drying it in parchment and then coating it. They're working with that. So, that's part of the stage, too, unless they're just buying parchment already done by some other workshop or whatever. But even just the painting had so many levels. They had a lot of people working, I think, a lot of hours. They didn't have time clocks. I mean, written down equivalently to the time clocks. But they do talk about all the time and effort that went into this. And in surprising, surprising short intervals, such as one or two years to get, you know, 20 volumes set of these things done. One column, and it's upside down.


You can see England and France, and you can see China and India. He really has quite a way ahead of his time. Yeah, I have a lecture on him, too, here. I won't be giving it at this point. We have one at Epiphany, too, you know. Joseph. You wanted to know what was mentioned, is it about? Yeah. You said the monitors also were involved in the making of parchment? I don't know that. I mean, I don't know if ours were, but if they didn't, they would buy it already done by some other monastic or secular school or workshop doing that. I don't think our people are necessarily involved in the vats of lye and all of that.


I'm sure it was hired people who were doing it. Is this the actual size of the work that they did, or has this been enlarged? That must be about, you know, that's an initial letter. That's about right. That looks about right. Good size. Does it say anything? I mean, sometimes they'll say actual size. No. But that is close. I think. Don't you? It's about when you think of the initial letters in most manuscripts, they're about like that. Maybe sometimes a little bit smaller. Isn't it amazing when you think of how they painted the details in those things? If you get one of these out, you know, you look at, my goodness, they must have been dealing with just one or two hairs in a brush sometimes, hanging in there. How did they, what I was wondering is, did they have these in those days?


I mean, did they have tools like this? They must have, huh? They must have been working a lot with that, with those kind of, some kind of magnification. Do you ever read anything, Lawrence, on the actual how, what they used and how they did it? I've never run across a real tool. The thing about many, many, I, as you said, was, well, you know how oil paintings are usually done with a burnt sienna, especially in the wintertime, like a monotone? Well, a lot of the miniatures were done in red that way, and then colors were put on afterwards. That was like the first, the drawing part. Oh, interesting, because I'm just getting into, I'm studying my egg tempera, so I can do that first panel that I'm doing, the virgin. And there it says the classic way of doing the egg tempera is also doing that first wash, more of a burnt sienna type, red, brown.


Well, you know the Conte crayons that you use, and there's the red ones, the brown ones, and the black ones? The red is actually not really red, it's more like terracotta. Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah. Oh, that's interesting. That's what you think, why they probably said, used mini, I think so. Because I know they did miniatures in red first, or in terracotta color first. You can see it in most of the backgrounds, and the architectural parts are all red. Underneath the red brown, the above are the red. Bruno and I first went to Italy in 62, in the sacred heritage, we had these huge office books, and one person would treasure them, and two would look at them. And I think they were printed, part of the first printing, they themselves were quite historical, and on this heavy, heavy paper. That must have been the generation right after this.


You notice in the choirs of our houses, which were originally coronation, so Montejove, Napoli, and more in Montejove, and I noticed in Garda also, they still have those little setups right in the choir, where a huge tome would sit for that side of the choir, or that part of the side. They still kept that in the architecture. Okay, we can quit early today. Later. Okay, we can quit early today.