ST. JEROME, Epistola [Letters]; illuminated manuscript on parchment, in Latin
by ST. JEROME
EXCELLENT EXAMPLE OF AN EARLY FLORENTINE HUMANISCTIC MANUSCRIPT ONCE IN THE LIBRARY OF BERNARDO BEMBO. Illuminated manuscript on parchment in Latin, Italy, Florence, c. 1430-40. Dimensions 353 x 255 mm. 353 folios, catchwords and traces of signatures, written in an early humanistic bookhand, 2-line introductory initials throughout in gold with white vine-stems on green, red and blue grounds, two very large vine-stem initials in gold against green, light pink and blue grounds, one partial vine-stem border with a putto holding a shield. Binding: Crimson velvet over pasteboard, the spine restored. TEXT: A selection of 149 letters and tracts attributed to St. Jerome including exegetical, hagiographical and polemical works and several letters from and to Pope Damasus. The selection is closely related to that of another fifteenth-century volume with the ex-libris of Piero di Cosimo de' Medici as well as a tenth-to eleventh-century example in the Vatican (MS Lat. 341). Written in a Florentine Humanistic script characteristic of the early fifteenth-century. ILLUSTRATION: The decoration of this manuscript is quintessentially Florentine, in particular the white vine-stems that trail around the letters and define the partial border. The style was influenced by contemporary ideas about antiquity such as the putto, taken from Roman art, which became popular in Renaissance illumination. There is a large group of Florentine manuscripts with identical or very similar decoration which suggest the manuscript may be associated with the scriptorium of S. Maria degli Angeli in Florence. PROVENANCE: Written and decorated in Florence in the 1430s then possibly in the library of Bernardo Bembo (1433-1519), Venetian nobleman, important humanist, envoy to the court of Lorenzo de' Medici. Later in the collections of Charles H. St. J. Hornby (1876-1946), Major J. R. Abbey (1894-1969), Peter and Irene Ludwig, The J. Paul Getty Museum, and, most recently, the James and Elizabeth Ferrell Collection. CONDITION: Slightly discolored vertical crease on f. i, otherwise in wonderfully fresh condition. Full description and photographs available. (Inventory #: 50265)
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