JOYFUL MYSTERIES of the ROSARY
DRAWING by DANIEL MITSUI
This is an ink drawing on a 9" × 12" piece of calfskin vellum. I drew it using fine-tipped black and red pens and red calligraphers’ ink applied with brushes.
The original was created on private commission as part of a set of three, along with the Sorrowful Mysteries and the Glorious Mysteries
of the Rosary.
The drawing is composed of a title, five quatrefoils and four roundels inside a decorative framework of tiny plants and animals inspired by millefleur tapestries. A small scene of a unicorn hunt as an allegory of the Incarnation is included in the bas-de-page. This allegory is explained in the text of the medieval bestiary:
The unicorn ... is a little beast, not unlike a young goat, and extraordinarily swift. It has a horn in the middle of its brow, and no hunter can catch it. But it can be caught in the following fashion: a girl who is a virgin is led to the place where it dwells, and is left there alone in the forest. As soon as the unicorn sees her, it leaps into her lap and embraces her, and goes to sleep there; then the hunters capture it and display it in the king’s palace. Our Lord Jesus Christ is the spiritual unicorn.... He is called very swift, for neither principalities nor powers, nor thrones nor lordships could capture Him; the underworld could not hold Him, and not even the most cunning devil could understand Him. But by the will of the Father alone He descended into the Virgin’s womb to save us.
The title is written in a Lombardic script in red ink, with an ornamental rose beside it.
The five quatrefoils contain scenes of the five Joyful Mysteries of the Rosary: the Annunciation, the Visitation, the Nativity of Christ, the Presentation in the Temple and Christ among the Elders.
The Four Major Prophets - Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel and Daniel - appear in roundels between the larger scenes.
Artists whose work influenced this drawing include the Boucicaut Master, the Limbourg Brothers, Berthold Furtmeyr, Absolon Stumme, Johann Koerbecke and Jacquelin de Montluçon.
I modified the colors when creating the print file (which is shown on this page); those on the original drawing are different. The roundels of the prophets were drawn on separate pieces of vellum and edited into the print file.
An open-edition giclée print of this drawing is available for $101. You may use the button below to pay via PayPal, debit card or credit card. Be sure to confirm the shipping address.
This drawing is part of a set of three (along with Sorrowful Mysteries and Glorious Mysteries). If you order the full set at once, the third print is half-price.
See this page for additional ordering instructions and general information. If you want to pay via a check or money order, please e-mail me at danmitsui [at] hotmail [dot] com.