Divine Comedy of San Bernardo

Divine Comedy Codex 9

Padua, Library of Episcopal Seminary

Limited Edition: 300 copie


  • Century XIV (second half), cc. 164
  • Dimensions 376×256 mm
  • 167 carte
  • Stampa fine art
  • Applicazione dell’oro in lamina
  • Carta pergamena trattata a mano per il raggiungimento dello stato ottimale di invecchiamento
  • Legatura eseguita artigianalmente
  • Cucitura a manoIncassatura su carta antica
  • Coperta in pelle con impressione a secco

The manuscript contains copy of the Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri (cc. 1r-162v), and short texts by Jacopo Alighieri (cc. 163rA-vB) and Bosone of Gubbio (cc. 163vB-164vB).

The codex became property of the Library of the Seminary thanks to the purchase in 1720 by the librarian Francesco Canal of the book collection of the Paduan count Alfonso Alvarotti. He left a remark in the codex (c. Ir) in which he claims to have received it as a gift from the count Andrea Cittadella in 1717.

The work is profusely illuminated, and in particular the three title pages corresponding to the beginning of the three cantos, which present historiated initials and rich friezes. The remaining part of decorations embellishes the initials of the text with leafy elements, not infrequently accompanied by drollery of strong vivacity.

The decoration and the geographical location of the center of production of the codex has so far led to criticism for a possible Umbrian provenance, and for a dating to the second half of XIV century.

Actually, part of the lettering highlights a derivation from the compositional practices present in the Perugian context, as well as some figures present in the three title pages. However, the Umbrian context does not seem to fully explain the decorative facies of the work.

There is the possibility that the reason why for the indeterminacy that cloaks the geographical location of the codex is due to the still little knowledge of the miniature of the Marches, which could explain a style that is certainly not Tuscan, nor of Emilia-Romagna, and that does not seem traceable in a southern context. There is a possible clue in this sense.

The research in progress contextual to the making of the commentary to the facsimile could succeed in demonstrating the responsibility of the original commissioning of the manuscript in the figure of Michelino of Stacciola, who, in1372 was forced to surrender his feud of the Marches to Galeazzo Malatesta, and that in 1380 was Podestà of Gubbio, which, a few years later would have been incorporated into the domains of Montefeltro. The work in progress will try to determine if this trail is attainable or not.