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NERI DA RIMINI (attributed). Large excised initial "N" from a choirbook, extensively historiated.
[Likely Rimini: first quarter of the 14th century]. 10 1/4 x 7 1/4 inches (26 x 18.5 cm); vellum, with laid gold and colors, the verso with two four-line staves. Rubbing to the raised areas of gold, some creasing with minor pigment loss etc.
This very large initial contains two subjects: the lower, a Birth of Jesus, with the three magi and their attendants bearing gifts to the infant Christ (who is shown seated on the knee of Mary); and the upper, Jesus being baptized by John the Baptist, framed by the arch of the letter. Neri da Rimini (fl. 1300-1338) was a very early exponent of the Gothic style, and was influenced by Giotto. The palette of the miniatures, with the white filigree ornament and the areas of pink in the initial, is very characteristic of his work.
We note another large initial offered by Koller of Zurich, Lot 134*, September 18, 2015. Their cataloguing states that the example they offered was likely part of a dismantled volume or volumes of choirbooks, and states that there are records of a further 43 single leaves or initials from that work. It seems likely that this is part of that group (recorded or unrecorded), in which case the present work is plausibly an early example of Neri da Rimini's work; the date for that group appears to be approximately 1305.
Provenance: From the V.G. Simkhovitch Collection
By descent in the family.

Sold for $28,350
Estimate $2,000-3,000

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