Divine Comedy Angelica

ms. 1102

Roma, Angelica Library

Limited Edition: 399 copies

  • XIV Century (second half), cc. 94
  • Dimensions 340×237 mm
  • 94 carte
  • Stampa fine art
  • Applicazione dell’oro in lamina
  • Carta pergamena trattata a mano
  • Legatura eseguita artigianalmente
  • Pelle fiore a concia naturale
  • Cucitura a mano
  • Legatura della Biblioteca del Cardinale Domenico Passionei

The manuscript 1102 of Angelica Library, is a 14th century codex containing the Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri and the comments by Jacopo Alighieri and Bosone of Gubbio entitled Chapter About the Comedy, also contains a fragment of the poem on the history of Alexander the Great written by Gualterus de Castellione.

Relevant for the originality of iconography that represents Dante’s Hell, the codex is a remarkable example of a fourteenth-century Bolognese miniature.

Each canto of Hell is introduced by a miniature that shows the cant’s content.

Thirty-four miniatures embellish the manuscript that shows the scenes of Hell in bright colors on a golden background.

The first scene is organized on two columns while the rest of the miniatures fill one column only.

The manuscript was never completed. The empty spaces were left for the miniatures containing the cantos of Paradise and Purgatory.

Delicate white plant motifs, typical of late medieval Italian manuscripts, adorn the whole book. Probably only one scribe is responsible for having written the in elegant Gothic writing littera textualis.

Usually appointed to a scriptorium of Bologna, the identification of the Divine Comedy illuminator is still subject of debate.

Mario Salmi attributes the work to Simone dei Crocefissi, that supposes the codex to be of the first quarter of the fifteenth century. Resuming to the reference proposed at the time by Salmi, Ciardi Duprè has confirmed in recent times the belonging to the Bologna area, while still considering the quality of the decorations higher than the expressive standards by Simone, whose generation range, the researcher suggests, anyway, to bring together the different miniatures to be interpreted, upon her opinion, in close relationship with the second generation of artists active in Mezzaratta, including the Master of Primogeniture by Giuseppe, Cristoforo and the so-called “Jacobus” identified with Jacopo Benintendi named the “Biondo” (Blonde-hair man).