Leaf from a Gradual: Initial P with the Nativity

Attavante degli Attavanti (Italian, c. 1452-c. 1525) and Workshopc. 1500

The Cleveland Museum of Art

The Cleveland Museum of Art
Cleveland, United States

This beautiful initial P introduces the text Puer natus e[st] nobis, et filius datus est nobis (“For a child is born to us, and a son is given to us”) which marks the opening of the Introit for Christmas Day. The text, taken from Isaiah 9:6, continues, “. . . and his name shall be called Wonderful.” It is used to celebrate one of the most joyous events of the Christian Church—the birth of Christ. This splendid leaf from a manuscript gradual contains the chants used for solemn high Mass on Christmas Day. The initial P features sprays of foliage that emerge and migrate along three sides of the page. Painted by Attavante degli Attavanti, one of the most prominent Florentine illuminators of the late 15th century—whose patrons included Duke Federigo da Montefeltro of Urbino, King Matthias Corvinus of Hungary, and the Medici Pope Leo X—the initial is characteristic of Attavante’s use of a bright, sunny palette. His miniatures often include detailed landscapes with receding vistas and sundrenched hills, townscapes, and ultramarine skies.

Download this artwork (provided by The Cleveland Museum of Art).
Learn more about this artwork.


  • Title: Leaf from a Gradual: Initial P with the Nativity
  • Creator: Attavante degli Attavanti (Italian, c. 1452-c. 1525), Workshop
  • Date Created: c. 1500
  • Physical Dimensions: Each leaf: 59.8 x 4.1 cm (23 9/16 x 1 5/8 in.)
  • Provenance: Alice Tully, New York; [Bruce Ferrini, Akron]
  • Type: Manuscript
  • Rights: CC0
  • External Link: https://clevelandart.org/art/2003.173
  • Medium: ink, tempera and gold on vellum
  • Department: Medieval Art
  • Culture: Italy, Florence, late 15th, early 16th century
  • Credit Line: The Jeanne Miles Blackburn Collection
  • Collection: MED - Manuscript Illuminations
  • Accession Number: 2003.173

Get the app

Explore museums and play with Art Transfer, Pocket Galleries, Art Selfie, and more

Flash this QR Code to get the app
Google apps