Illuminated manuscript on vellum.
[France or Italy?], signed by Bernardo Anglesi of Pavia, 1604. (BRMS 122)
This large folding triptych is a cartagloria, an illuminated manuscript bearing essential Latin texts for the Mass ceremony. Intended as a mnemonic aid for the priest while he officiated at the altar, it bears the texts of the Gloria, Credo, Offertory prayers, the Canon prayer ending with the words of Consecration, Hoc est corpus meum (“This is my body”), and the opening words of the Gospel of John. The Italian term cartagloria refers to the words Gloria in excelsis Deo, with which such altar cards always begin.
The central miniature of the triptych replicates Leonardo da Vinci’s fresco of the Last Supper at the Dominican Convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie in Milan, completed in 1498. When Bridwell Library’s cartagloria was produced in 1604, Leonardo’s fresco was just beginning to gain international fame through the distribution of engravings. However, the illuminator who signed this triptych at the lower right corner, Bernardo Anglesi, indicated that he was from Pavia, twenty miles south of Milan. Thus, he probably knew Leonardo’s composition directly from the original. The triptych’s handsome leather covering features gold-tooled symbols of Christ’s Passion.