100 famous short stories with 100 perfectly matching miniatures: a large-format masterpiece commissioned by the Burgundian Duke Philip the Good

Boccaccio's Decameron - Codex Paris

Gramont (France) and Gent (Flanders) — 1445-1450

Boccaccio's Decameron - Codex Paris

Boccaccio's Decameron - Codex Paris

Gramont (France) and Gent (Flanders) — 1445-1450

  1. This huge codex holds the French translation of Giovanni Boccaccio's (1313-75) world famous Decameron

  2. Each of the 100 short stories is prefaced with a masterfully executed and perfectly summarizing miniatures

  3. A highlight of Flemish illumination commissioned by Philip the Good, Duke of Burgundy (1396-1467)

El Decamerón de Boccaccio

Boccaccio's Decameron - Codex Paris

Master Simone, Bruno, and Buffalmacco

The 9th tale of the 10th day tells how the tricksters Bruno and Buffalmacco play a practical joke on the physician Master Simone by leaving him in a stinking pit. This story was a vehicle for Boccaccio to try out some wordplay, but was also the subject for this fine miniature by the Master of Jean Mansel, who made excellent use of color, space, and perspective in creating this two-part scene. The urine flask over the door indicates that the building is the home of a physician.

Boccaccio's Decameron - Codex Paris

Alternative Titles:
  • El Decamerón de Boccaccio
  • Arsenal Decameron
  • Decameron de Bocaccio
  • Boccaccios Decamerone
  • Boccaccios Dekameron
Boccaccio's Decameron - Codex Paris – Ms. 5070 – Bibliothèque de l'Arsenal (Paris, France)
Boccaccio's Decameron - Codex Paris – Ms. 5070 – Bibliothèque de l'Arsenal (Paris, France)
Boccaccio's Decameron - Codex Paris – Ms. 5070 – Bibliothèque de l'Arsenal (Paris, France)
Boccaccio's Decameron - Codex Paris – Ms. 5070 – Bibliothèque de l'Arsenal (Paris, France)
Boccaccio's Decameron - Codex Paris – Ms. 5070 – Bibliothèque de l'Arsenal (Paris, France)
Boccaccio's Decameron - Codex Paris – Ms. 5070 – Bibliothèque de l'Arsenal (Paris, France)
Boccaccio's Decameron - Codex Paris – Ms. 5070 – Bibliothèque de l'Arsenal (Paris, France)
Boccaccio's Decameron - Codex Paris – Ms. 5070 – Bibliothèque de l'Arsenal (Paris, France)
Boccaccio's Decameron - Codex Paris – Ms. 5070 – Bibliothèque de l'Arsenal (Paris, France)
Boccaccio's Decameron - Codex Paris – Ms. 5070 – Bibliothèque de l'Arsenal (Paris, France)
Boccaccio's Decameron - Codex Paris – Ms. 5070 – Bibliothèque de l'Arsenal (Paris, France)
Boccaccio's Decameron - Codex Paris – Ms. 5070 – Bibliothèque de l'Arsenal (Paris, France)
Boccaccio's Decameron - Codex Paris – Ms. 5070 – Bibliothèque de l'Arsenal (Paris, France)
Boccaccio's Decameron - Codex Paris – Ms. 5070 – Bibliothèque de l'Arsenal (Paris, France)
Boccaccio's Decameron - Codex Paris – Ms. 5070 – Bibliothèque de l'Arsenal (Paris, France)
Boccaccio's Decameron - Codex Paris – Ms. 5070 – Bibliothèque de l'Arsenal (Paris, France)
Boccaccio's Decameron - Codex Paris – Ms. 5070 – Bibliothèque de l'Arsenal (Paris, France)
Boccaccio's Decameron - Codex Paris – Ms. 5070 – Bibliothèque de l'Arsenal (Paris, France)
Boccaccio's Decameron - Codex Paris – Ms. 5070 – Bibliothèque de l'Arsenal (Paris, France)
Boccaccio's Decameron - Codex Paris – Ms. 5070 – Bibliothèque de l'Arsenal (Paris, France)
Boccaccio's Decameron - Codex Paris – Ms. 5070 – Bibliothèque de l'Arsenal (Paris, France)
Boccaccio's Decameron - Codex Paris – Ms. 5070 – Bibliothèque de l'Arsenal (Paris, France)
Boccaccio's Decameron - Codex Paris – Ms. 5070 – Bibliothèque de l'Arsenal (Paris, France)
Boccaccio's Decameron - Codex Paris – Ms. 5070 – Bibliothèque de l'Arsenal (Paris, France)
Boccaccio's Decameron - Codex Paris – Ms. 5070 – Bibliothèque de l'Arsenal (Paris, France)
Boccaccio's Decameron - Codex Paris – Ms. 5070 – Bibliothèque de l'Arsenal (Paris, France)
Boccaccio's Decameron - Codex Paris – Ms. 5070 – Bibliothèque de l'Arsenal (Paris, France)
Boccaccio's Decameron - Codex Paris – Ms. 5070 – Bibliothèque de l'Arsenal (Paris, France)
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  1. Short Description
  2. Codicology

Short Description

One of the most important works of world literature in one of the most marvelous manuscripts of the 15th century: the famous collection of novellas in Giovanni Boccacio’s Decameron from the mid-14th century was translated into French by Laurent de Premierfait and illustrated with wonderful miniatures. The presumed commissioner of the work was Philipp the Good, Duke of Burgundy, a lover of splendid manuscripts. Guillebert de Mets copied the French text into the wonderful manuscript and his famous miniaturists, the Master of Guillebert de Mets and the Master of Mansel, marvelously designed it. The miniatures belong among the most beautiful Flemish works of art from that golden age of illumination and makes the French edition of Boccaccio’s Decameron a true treasure for the lover of splendid manuscripts.

Boccaccio's Decameron

One of the most important works of world literature in one of the most marvelous manuscripts of the 15th century: the famous collection of novellas of Giovanni Boccacio’s Decameron from the mid-14th century was translated into French by **Laurent de Premierfait and illustrated with wonderful miniatures. The presumed commissioner of the work was Philip the Good, Duke of Burgundy, a lover of splendid manuscripts. Guillebert de Metscopied the French text into the wonderful manuscript and his famous miniaturists, the Master of Guillebert de Mets and the Master of Mansel, marvelously designed it. The miniatures belong among the most beautiful Flemish works of art from that golden age of illumination and makes the French edition of Boccaccio’s Decameron a true treasure for the lover of splendid manuscripts.

Great Flemish Illumination

Splendid, ornamental bordures frame the 790 pages of the manuscript, the text’s voluptuous, gorgeous, and consistent script in red and black ink adorns the entire work. Numerous decorative initials, colored and embellished with gold, enliven the text. Also, the magnificent miniatures at the beginning of each of the 100 stories speak for themselves in their outstanding artistic quality and captivating originality. Always found in the upper-half of the picture is a figurative scene that illustrates the text. In wonderfully spatial scenes, delicate, elongated figures with flowing garments perform with expressive facial features and gestures. The miniatures are surrounded by exuberant filigree borders of ornamental arabesques. These bordures of impressive originality are a characteristic of the great art of the masters of Guillebert de Mets.

Two Masters of Their Trade

The marvelous miniatures and the artistic embellishment of the manuscript originate from the Master of Guillebert de Mets and the Master of Mansel. Both were probably active in Ghent. Clear influences of their Flemish provenance are to be found in their works. However, influences of French and particularly Parisian illumination are also clear. Both have been immortalized in numerous high-quality works from their hand. That the miniaturists of the French Boccaccio manuscript were of Flemish origins is evidenced by the fact that on some pages in the manuscript, the explanations of the pictorial subjects are written in Flemish. The scribe of the text was Guillebert de Mets, as is noted in the book’s colophon. Guillebert of Mets was the scribe and copyist and was active as a librarian for Philip the Good among others.

The First French Translation of the Literary Masterpiece

The French text of the Decameron by Boccaccio came from Laurent de Premierfait, a humanist poet and translator. Premierfait was counted among the best translators of his day, he translated works from Aristotle, Seneca, and Cicero and was employed by King Charles VIII and Jean Duc de Berry. He translated the Decameron into French, as is noted in the manuscript, from 1411 to the 15th of June, 1414. The splendid manuscript with his translation was made in the years 1445-50, probably for Philip the Good (1396-1467), Duke of Burgundy. It remained in the library of the Dukes of Burgundy until 1748. It was then purchased by the Duke of Argenson, who in turn gave it to his nephew, the Marguis de Paulmy, whose coat of arms is depicted on the binding.

A Masterpiece of World Literature

Giovanni Boccaccio’s (1313-1375) famous collection of novellas has been regarded as a masterpiece since the Renaissance. The Decameron – roughly translated as “ten-day-work”, originated in the mid-14th century. The magnum opus of the Italian humanist poet had an influence on European- and world-literature that is impossible to overstate. It was received and imitated by significant authors, e.g. Geoffrey Chaucer, Miguel de Cervantes, Goethe, Shakespeare, and Balzac. The Decameron belongs to the canon of – Italian – literature to this day. The collection of novellas consists of 100 stories that, according to the framework plot, are told over the course of ten days by a group consisting of seven women and three men. The group has fled from Florence, where the Plague was raging. Boccaccio gives a wonderful glimpse into the society of the 14th century. With his simultaneously entertaining and informative Decameron, he became “the founder of the prosaic narrative tradition in Europe.”

Codicology

Alternative Titles
El Decamerón de Boccaccio
Arsenal Decameron
Decameron de Bocaccio
Boccaccios Decamerone
Boccaccios Dekameron
Size / Format
790 pages / 40.0 x 28.5 cm
Date
1445-1450
Language
Illustrations
A framed double scene at the beginning of each one of the 100 stories and numerous decorated initials
Content
French translation (or rather paraphrase) of the Decameron of Boccaccio, preceded by three Tables: Table des nouvelles, Table des choses remarquables, Table des chansons
Artist / School
Previous Owners
El Decamerón de Boccaccio

Boccaccio's Decameron - Codex Paris

Gillette of Narbonne before the King

Within this frame narrative of young nobles telling stories to one another while hiding from the Plague as it ravages Florence, the ninth tale told on day three concerns Gillette of Narbonne and the King of France. Based on a Sanskrit work originating in 5th century India, the tale later became the basis for the play All’s Well That Ends Well by William Shakespeare.

This miniature is a wonderful glimpse of court life in the 15th century, which is depicted under vaulted ceilings before meticulously patterned backgrounds. While an aristocratic family dines on the right, a young lady is being presented at court on the left. She is pictured wearing a garland and kneeling before the King, who wields a scepter and is flanked by advisors.

1 available facsimile edition(s) of „Boccaccio's Decameron - Codex Paris“

El Decamerón de Boccaccio
Boccaccio's Decameron - Codex Paris – Ms. 5070 – Bibliothèque de l'Arsenal (Paris, France)
Boccaccio's Decameron - Codex Paris – Ms. 5070 – Bibliothèque de l'Arsenal (Paris, France)
Boccaccio's Decameron - Codex Paris – Ms. 5070 – Bibliothèque de l'Arsenal (Paris, France)
Boccaccio's Decameron - Codex Paris – Ms. 5070 – Bibliothèque de l'Arsenal (Paris, France)
Boccaccio's Decameron - Codex Paris – Ms. 5070 – Bibliothèque de l'Arsenal (Paris, France)
Boccaccio's Decameron - Codex Paris – Ms. 5070 – Bibliothèque de l'Arsenal (Paris, France)
Boccaccio's Decameron - Codex Paris – Ms. 5070 – Bibliothèque de l'Arsenal (Paris, France)
Boccaccio's Decameron - Codex Paris – Ms. 5070 – Bibliothèque de l'Arsenal (Paris, France)
Boccaccio's Decameron - Codex Paris – Ms. 5070 – Bibliothèque de l'Arsenal (Paris, France)
Boccaccio's Decameron - Codex Paris – Ms. 5070 – Bibliothèque de l'Arsenal (Paris, France)
Boccaccio's Decameron - Codex Paris – Ms. 5070 – Bibliothèque de l'Arsenal (Paris, France)
Boccaccio's Decameron - Codex Paris – Ms. 5070 – Bibliothèque de l'Arsenal (Paris, France)
Boccaccio's Decameron - Codex Paris – Ms. 5070 – Bibliothèque de l'Arsenal (Paris, France)
Boccaccio's Decameron - Codex Paris – Ms. 5070 – Bibliothèque de l'Arsenal (Paris, France)
Boccaccio's Decameron - Codex Paris – Ms. 5070 – Bibliothèque de l'Arsenal (Paris, France)
Boccaccio's Decameron - Codex Paris – Ms. 5070 – Bibliothèque de l'Arsenal (Paris, France)
Boccaccio's Decameron - Codex Paris – Ms. 5070 – Bibliothèque de l'Arsenal (Paris, France)
Boccaccio's Decameron - Codex Paris – Ms. 5070 – Bibliothèque de l'Arsenal (Paris, France)
Boccaccio's Decameron - Codex Paris – Ms. 5070 – Bibliothèque de l'Arsenal (Paris, France)
Boccaccio's Decameron - Codex Paris – Ms. 5070 – Bibliothèque de l'Arsenal (Paris, France)
Boccaccio's Decameron - Codex Paris – Ms. 5070 – Bibliothèque de l'Arsenal (Paris, France)
Boccaccio's Decameron - Codex Paris – Ms. 5070 – Bibliothèque de l'Arsenal (Paris, France)
Boccaccio's Decameron - Codex Paris – Ms. 5070 – Bibliothèque de l'Arsenal (Paris, France)
Boccaccio's Decameron - Codex Paris – Ms. 5070 – Bibliothèque de l'Arsenal (Paris, France)
Boccaccio's Decameron - Codex Paris – Ms. 5070 – Bibliothèque de l'Arsenal (Paris, France)
Boccaccio's Decameron - Codex Paris – Ms. 5070 – Bibliothèque de l'Arsenal (Paris, France)
Boccaccio's Decameron - Codex Paris – Ms. 5070 – Bibliothèque de l'Arsenal (Paris, France)
Boccaccio's Decameron - Codex Paris – Ms. 5070 – Bibliothèque de l'Arsenal (Paris, France)
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El Decamerón de Boccaccio

1 volume: Exact reproduction of the original document (extent, color and size)
Publisher
Scriptorium – Valencia, 2009
Limited Edition
390 copies
Binding
Leather
Commentary
1 volume by Danielle Muzerelle, Marie-Hélène Tesniére and María Hernández Esteban
Languages: English, Spanish
Regular price without login (like new)5,790 €
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