Last Judgment, in an initial A
Leaf from an Antiphonary, in Latin.
Illuminated by the Maestro Geometrico
Italy, probably Florence
550 x 365 mm
Purchased by Pierpont Morgan from Leo Olschki, 1907
This depiction is divided into tiers, imitating large-scale frescoes and mosaics of the period. The top scene depicts Christ as judge, exposing his wounds and flanked by the Virgin Mary and John the Baptist. Attendant archangels hold instruments of the Passion. In the middle section are the twelve apostles holding books or scrolls. The elect, occupying the third tier, represent the clergy on the left and the lay world on the right. The small bearded man among the elect may possibly represent the artist. Below, the dead are summoned from their graves by angels blasting trumpets. This leaf was originally the frontispiece of an Antiphonary (which contains the music for the Divine Office), for the initial A (of Aspiciens) begins the response for the first Sunday in Advent, the beginning of the church year. The so-called Maestro Geometrico (or Terzo master) was active about 1270–80 and worked on Choir Books E and F in the church of Santa Maria Novella in Florence.