Entries Tagged as 'Articles'

Il Breviario Grimani nell’Ottocento


ARTICLE: Sara Filippin, Il Breviario Grimani e le sue riproduzioni fotografi- che nell’Ottocento, in MDCCC 1800, 5, 2016, pp. 71-111.

In the first half of the 1860s two photographic campaigns were conducted on the Grimani Breviary (Venice, Marciana Library): the first one by Antonio Perini, who in 1862 published the photographs of 110 miniatures among the most relevant of the manuscript; the second was realised around 1864 by initiative of the French publisher Léon Curmer, who aimed at publishing thirty-six chromolithographs taken from the same miniatures. Since then the Breviary was no longer photographed. On the basis of archival documents and the analysis of some copies of those reproductions, the paper shows that the negatives obtained by Perini were employed for further editions of the images in 1878, 1880-1881, 1903 and 1906.

Clicca qui se vuoi contattare Sara Filippin (Università degli Studi di Padova, Italia). Il contributo è consultabile e scaricabile gratuitamente (qui).

De l’enluminure à la sculpture monumentale

ARTICLE: Cristina Dagalita, De l’enluminure à la sculpture monumentale: le fou parmi les Vierges folles à la cathédrale de Strasbourg, in “Revue de l’art”, n. 192/2016-2, pp. 23-30.

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Vizi e virtù negli Annali della Normale di Pisa


ARTICLES: Annali della Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa. Classe di Lettere e Filosofia, serie 5, 2015, 7/2.

Tra i molti articoli si segnalano:

* Giulia Ammannati, Virtù e Vizi nella Cappella degli Scrovegni: nuovi tituli recuperati (pp. 445-471)

* Chiara Frugoni, La forza politica delle immagini. A proposito di un recente libro sugli affreschi dei Lorenzetti nel Palazzo pubblico di Siena (pp. 495-500).  

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Towards a Universal Catalogue of Early MSS

ARTICLE – Nigel Ramsay, Towards a Universal Catalogue of Early Manuscripts: Seymour de Ricci’s Census of Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts in the United States and Canada, in Manuscript Studies: A Journal of the Schoenberg Institute for Manuscript Studies, Volume 1, Issue 1, Spring 2016, pp. 71-89.

Seymour de Ricci’s Census of Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts in the United States and Canada, published by the Library of Congress in two volumes in 1935 and 1937 respectively, is a fundamental reference for the history of manuscripts in North American institutions and collections. This article explores the history of the Census’ production, in particular the challenges that De Ricci faced in completing the monumental task of creating a union catalogue of manuscripts before the dawn of the digital age.

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Codici miniati a Brescia in età malatestiana

ARTICLE: Stefania Buganza e Marco Rossi, Codici miniati e cultura figurativa a Brescia in età malatestiana, in Libri e lettori a Brescia tra Medioevo ed Età Moderna, a cura di Luca Rivali, Udine 2015 (Forum), pp. 39-61.


Una conferma per il Maestro di San Sisto

ARTICLE: Daniele Guernelli, Una conferma per il Maestro di San Sisto, in “Paragone”, anno LXVII, n. 793, serie III, n. 126, pp. 45-53, figg. 44-47.

The article presents a new manuscript attributable to the Master of San Sisto, a recently-identified artist who is distinct from the Second Master of the Antiphonal M of San Giorgio Maggiore in Venice. These anonymous illuminators, strongly influenced by the art of Belbello da Pavia, appear to have belonged to the Benedictine Congregation of Santa Giustina. The codex attributed  here is an Italian translation of Gregory the Great’s Moralia in Job, now housed in the Biblioteca Nazionale in Rome (ms. Vitt. Em. 237), and illustrates the style of this Master, who worked in the Po Valley area during the 1460s and 1470s.

A Portrait of a Florentine ‘Cartolaio’


ARTICLE: Alesandro Cecchi, A portrait of a Florentine ‘cartolaio’ by Andrea del Sarto in the Natonal Gallery, in The Burlington Magazine, vol. CLVIII, number 1358, May 2016, pp. 331-335.

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Codici di lusso a Pavia e Michelino da Besozzo


ARTICLE: Roberta Delmoro, Interferenze francesi nella produzione dei codici di lusso a Pavia sullo scadere del Trecento e qualche apertura sul primo Michelino da Besozzo, “Arte Medievale”, s. IV, a. V, 2015, pp. 235-260.

The particular political and cultural climate that emerged in Pavia after 1360-1361, with the establishing of the Visconti court, the building of the Castello and the founding of the Studium, stimulated an intense production of luxury codices characterized, in a number of cases, by deliberate compositional and decorative affinities with French – and especially Parisian – illuminated manuscripts of the second half of the fourteenth century. The scriptorium in Pavia best known to scholars, thanks to a corpus  of manuscripts which can be attributed to it , is that of the Augustinian monastery of S. Pietro in Ciel d’Oro. Here, cooperating with the scriptorium, probably at the time he was working on the commissioned decoration of the second cloister of the monastery, the young Michelino da Besozzo had the opportunity of learning the art of illumination. This article attempts to define the characteristics of the painter’s early style.   

Sir Hans Sloane Collector of Manuscripts


ARTICLE: Sir Hans Sloane: Collector, Marmoset-Owner and Chocolate-Populariser, by Mary Wellesley.

On April the 16th was the anniversary of the birth of Sir Hans Sloane (b. 1660, d.1753), whose collection of manuscripts is one of the four ‘founder-collections’ which established the British Museum by Act of Parliament in the year of his death, 1753.

Born in Ireland, Sloane was a physician and collector, who was elected to the Royal Society at the age of just 24. Perhaps Sloane’s most meaningful contribution to our national life, however, was the introduction and popularisation of Hot Chocolate in Britain. While in Jamaica with the Duke of Albermarle in the late 1680s, Sloane tried cocoa – a drink prized by local people. He found it ‘nauseous’ but discovered that by mixing it with milk, it became palatable.

On his return to Britain in 1689, he marketed the drink as a medicine. (That’s my kind of medicine.) Amongst Sloane’s papers are the notebooks of Samuel Bellingham which contain two 17th century chocolate recipes.

In addition to his contemporary interest in medicine, Sloane also collected medieval and early modern medical manuscripts, including a beautiful 15th century Italian herbal, Sloane MS 4016 and treatises on gynaecology and cosmetics written by a female professor at the University of Salamanca (copied in Sloane MS 420, Sloane MS 434, Sloane MS 783, Sloane MS 1124, and Sloane MS 249).

Ahead of his time, Sloane advocated inoculations, even on his own family and he believed in contributing to the public good. When he was appointed physician in charge of Christ’s hospital in 1694, he returned his salary yearly to the hospital to help needy inmates. He was an avid collector, collecting not only books and manuscripts, but also – in the words of John Evelyn – ‘Plants, Corralls, Minerals, Earth, shells, animals, Insects etc: collected by him with greate Judgement’.

He also had an impressive array of household pets, which included a blind Arctic Fox (whose cataracts he removed), several sea turtles, a porcupine from Hudson’s Bay, a one-eyed wolverine and a marmoset with overgrown incisors.

On his death, Sloane left a complex will. In the words of his friend Thomas Birch, he was anxious that ‘his collections might be kept together for the instruction and Benefit of others engaged in the same pursuits’. After some wrangling, his vision was achieved. When he died, Sloane’s collection was integrated into three other collections: one gathered by Sir Robert Cotton and two gathered by the 1st and 2nd Earls of Oxford, known as the Harley collections.

The result was the founding collection of the British Museum — the manuscripts of which transferred to the British Library in 1973, arriving at the current St Pancras site, a beautiful Grade I listed building, in 1997.

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A New Cutting by the So-Called Master of Monza


ARTICLE: A New Cutting by the So-Called Master of Monza, by Peter Kidd.

In a previous post I reproduced some of the series of late 13th-century cuttings from a volume of saints’ lives, formerly attributed to a Spanish artist in the circle of the Master of the Beatus of San Andrés de Arroyo in La Spezia, but now re-attributed to a Lombard illuminator.

Since then, at least one more has come back on the market, from the Zeileis collection. The most detailed study of the manuscript and the artist is Giovanni Valagussa, Santi Lombardi di fine Duecento. Scritti per l’istituto germanico di Storia dell’ Arte di Firenze, Florence, 1997, pp. 23-34. He showed that the style could be related to Lombard works, including a fresco at Cremona, south-east of Milan, and especially a choirbook probably made for a church in Monza, a short distance north-east of Milan, as suggested by the fact that it includes the rare local saint St Theodolinda.

The Monza manuscript is now in Krakow, Poland (Bibl. Jagiellonska, Rps. akc 20/1951), in the catalogue of which the Monza origin is proposed, and hence the artist is named the Miniatore di Monza: Zofia Ameisenowa,Rękopisy i Pierwodruki Iluminowane Biblioteki Jagiellońskej, Wrocław, 1958, pp. 16-18, figs. 14-17.

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Palmira, la gatta siamese del deserto


Palmira, a volte mi sembrava d’esserci già stato, per quanto avevo letto delle sue rovine, studiate le sculture nei vari musei del mondo, ma non mi sarei potuto rassegnare a non vederla sul vero.

La strada a colonne si vedeva quasi d’infilata, con i fusti color ruggine, contro i monti color ruggine e invece, a terra, la polvere color di cenere. Dall’altro lato le palme azzurre contro i colli che parevano soffici nei loro colori di gatto siamese. Allora le montagne che sapevano di gatto furono un nuovo fascicno di Palmira. E il cielo era sempre più chiaro nell’arsura del sole.

Tutto il panorama, nel suo perimetro antico, si abbracciava con un’occhiata, il Tempio di Bel, e la Via colonnata, l’Agorà, il Teatro: tutto era chiaro come in un plastico; e invece stava sotto gli occhi nella sua realtà e per un’estensione che non si riusciva a definire, perché non c’era una misura reciproca fra i monti e le colonne.

Quella che da lontano sembrava cenere non è polvere, ma sabbia che il contrasto con la pietra roggia faceva diventare grigia, quasi cerulea. Sabbia che ricopre di già quel che una volta era stato rimesso in luce, cosicché invano si cerca di capire come fosse l’esedra prima di arrivare all’Arco trionfale.

Per prima cosa volli vedere le tombe: bisognava camminare ed era bene scegliere le ore meno bollenti. Mentre ci avvicinavamo alla tomba detta dei Tre Fratelli, notavo, e mi era sfuggito in principio, che da quella parte la natura della montagna cambiava, perdeva il rosso, le rosicchiature; apparivano colline tondeggianti che facevano l’effetto di una negativa, in quanto che invertivano i colori come è solito vederli.

Dentro la torre, che aveva la porta coi battenti di pietra, c’è altri sarcofaghi e loculi da gente più povera, sovrapposti come scansie: scansie piene di morti. Naturalmente, sculture quasi non ce n’è più. Sono quelle che trovate a Costantinopoli, a Londra, a Parigi, in America. Il saccheggio di Palmira forse non ebbe paragoni.

Poi dal pianoterreno si sale, con un’elegante scaletta nello spessore del muro, al piano superiore dove si ripete la teoria delle scansie, e così via fino al tetto, se tetto vi era, o terrazza. Da cima a queste torri il panorama mantiene la sua struttura eccezionale: le torri, così qua e là, sembrano in movimento e che non si debbono mai ritrovare al solito posto.

Ed io pensavo a questo modo quasi fatale che hanno di cristallizzarsi, ad un certo punto, le più alte tradizioni plastiche: quasi fatale, perché dipende solo dall’altezza dell’ingegno se qui si assiste ad un’operazione da marmorari irreprensibile, e là si resta col fiato sospeso, quando quei cerchi concentrici, quelle striature papillari si producono a Gandara o in Agostino di Duccio.

Così mi ero seduto all’ombra di una colonna, investito a tratti da una folata di sabbia e di vento, ma fresco, sotto il sole ardentissimo e ormai a picco. Di tanto in tanto passava un cammello con un beduino accovacciato sopra. Attraversava le rovine con l’indolenza pari alla grazia che ha il cammello quando cammina: bestia che non si sa mai di quante bestie sia fatta. Ed ha la testa da uccello, e il collo da serpente, e le gambe come di trampoliere.

Una sola musica vorrei sentire io qua, sebbene non ci abbia a che fare, visto che ha perso da tempo anche il titolo che giustifica il mio desiderio. Nel piccolo teatro vorrei sentire la sinfonia dell’Aureliano in Palmira, che è poi quella del Barbiere.

Certo la musica di Rossini così scherzosa e liquida, perennemente fresca, qui in questo deserto rovente non troverebbe eco, la beverebbe tutta la sabbia, neanche un suono arriverebbe agli orecchi. Nulla di meno romano, di meno archeologico, di meno storicamente evocativo della tremenda punizione che Aureliano inflisse alla città, dopo che la seconda volta Zenobia s’era voltata.

Dunque è un desiderio insensato il mio e la Sinfonia del Barbiere è ormai quella del Barbiere e giustamente di Palmira se n’è cancellato anche il nome. Non importa. Quella sinfonia è l’ultimo appello poetico della distrutta Palmira: il resto è storia, archeologia, è sapere. La sinfonia non è sapere, e Palmira ci sta dentro allo stesso diritto che il Vesuvio nella Ginestra.

Cesare Brandi, Città del deserto, Roma 1958

Stanford scholar discovers Magna Carta scribe

NEWS: Stanford scholar discovers previously unknown Magna Carta scribe, by Angela Becerra Videgar (The Humanities at Stanford).

Using handwriting analysis, Stanford manuscript expert Elaine Treharne shows for the first time that one of the world’s most famous documents was written not by the king’s own scribes, but by a cathedral scribe outside the central court.

Eight hundred years ago, one of the world’s most important documents was born. Issued by King John of England in 1215, the Magna Carta (“Great Charter”) acknowledged the rights of citizens and set restrictions on the power of the king. The Magna Carta has influenced the structures of modern democracies, including the writ of habeas corpus of the U.S. Constitution.

Thanks to meticulous comparative handwriting analysis, Stanford literary scholar Elaine Treharne has uncovered new information about who wrote one of the last four surviving original versions of the 1215 Magna Carta, preserved at England’s Salisbury Cathedral.

Scholars have long thought that the Magna Carta was issued by the king in the Chancery, the king’s central court, written by his scribes there and then sent out to other locations in the shires, or counties, of England.

According to Treharne, her research suggests the Salisbury Magna Carta was not just received and preserved at Salisbury, but that the Salisbury Magna Carta was written at Salisbury by one of the cathedral’s own scribes. She recently co-published her findings with University of Glasgow historian Andrew Prescott.

Treharne, a professor of English at Stanford, says that knowing about this difference in authorship “changes the way we think about the transmission of texts in the Middle Ages from the court.”

Instead of the charter being something passive that the king produced and sent out from the central court to be put away in satellite locations, Treharne says versions of the charter “were written in the regions and then taken to the court for sealing by the king’s Great Seal.”

This reconfiguration of the Magna Carta‘s path signals “a much more proactive relationship between institutions and king,” the scholar says. “It makes us look again at the role of the church in relationship to the king. They become much more partners, really, in the production of texts.”

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