Mar 12, 2010

Slovakia FDC on "Easter 2010: Initial with Suffering Christ from the Bratislava Mass-book"

First Day Cover
Sobrescrito de 1.º Dia


Easter 2010: Initial with Suffering Christ from the Bratislava Mass-book

Date of Issue : 26 Feb 2010

The manuscript of the Bratislava Mass-book VI had 310 parchment sheets (films) based on the description of the priest Nándor Knauz already in the 2nd half of the 19th century. In the City Museum in Bratislava or in the Archive of the City of Bratislava, only fragments with several figural miniatures (e.g. the figure of King David) or initials with side decoration have been preserved. Only recently, in the Szépművészeti museum in Budapest, another part of this Code was identified – a whole-page miniature of so-called Canonical Crucifixion. In 1870 Knauz published also one record from today missing sheet, based on which the manuscript was completed by Bratislava priest Michael from Trnava in 1403.

The initial T- e igitur on sheet 7r emphasizes the beginning of the most important liturgical part of the mass-book – canon. The topic of the framed miniature is a half-figure of the Suffering Christ with crossed hands at the belly standing in the grave – so-called Imago pietatis. The bleeding wounds are emphasized in the hands and in the waist. Three nails, knout and whip, but also the sepulchre of the tomb extend the initial contents by the motifs of the tools of Christ´s Martyrdom– Arma Christi. While out of letter T there is only blue upper arm visible behind its figure (at the same time like indication of a cross), the rest of the heading is carefully painted with golden letters upright next to the miniature.

Another decoration consists of colourful, thin-line outlined acanthus leaves on the inner edge of the page. According to the shape of this decor, as well as with the comparison of the above-mentioned miniature from Budapest we may come to the conclusion that the illuminator of the mass-book was inspired by the Prague manuscripts of the King Wenceslaus IV, mainly its Bible (illuminator Frána, around 1390). The impact of the Czech art of that time was really important in the entire Central Europe, and also in the library of the Bratislava Canonry we may find many such focused illuminations. On the other hand, its relatively abundant library and the vicinity of Vienna illuminator´s studios suggest also the possibility of the operation of separate painting shops directly in Bratislava.

My friend was so nice to affix both the Easter stamp issued in 2009 and 2010. The Easter stamp issued last year was colourful, while the 2010 Easter stamp adopt a classical design. I like both the Easter stamp of 2009 and 2010.

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