Divine Comedy - Codex Altonensis

Divine Comedy - Codex Altonensis Facsimile Edition

Tuscany (Italy) — 1350–1410

Richly illustrated, left unfinished, but for this very reason particularly valuable today: Dante's Divine Comedy with the famous and terrifying full-page miniature of Lucifer

  1. Work on the manuscript began in the second half of the 14th century but was abandoned ca. 1410

  2. The splendid work in progress allows art historians an inside look into the production process

  3. Although the third part was left unfinished, Inferno and Purgatorio are masterfully illuminated

Divine Comedy - Codex Altonensis

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  1. Description
  2. Detail Picture
  3. Single Page
  4. Facsimile Editions (1)
Description
Divine Comedy - Codex Altonensis

The Codex Altonensis is an extraordinarily artful manuscript of the Divinia Commedia by Dante Alighieri, the cornerstone of Italian literature and one of the most important and influential texts of the Middle Ages. Work on the manuscript began sometime in the second half of the 14th century but was abandoned ca. 1410, which left it in a state of progress that allows art historians an inside look into the production process. Although the third part, Paradiso, was left unfinished, Inferno and Purgatorio are masterfully illuminated including a terrifying full-page miniature of Lucifer. The presence of different scripts indicates that a team of scribes were responsible for the text, which was neatly written in two columns consisting of 36 lines at most.

Codicology

Alternative Titles
Göttliche Komödie - Codex Altonensis
Divina Commedia: Codex Altonensis
Codex Altonensis of the Divina Commedia
Size / Format
284 pages / 33.0 × 24.5 cm
Origin
Italy
Date
1350–1410
Style
Language
Script
Italian Gothic minuscule
Illustrations
Nearly 300 Miniatures
Artist / School

Available facsimile editions:
Divine Comedy - Codex Altonensis – Bibliothek des Gymnasiums Christaneum (Hamburg, Germany) Facsimile Edition
Gebr. Mann Verlag – Berlin, 1965
Limited Edition: 600 copies
Detail Picture

Divine Comedy - Codex Altonensis

Flight from Hell

Virgil and Dante begin their escape by climbing feet-first down Satan’s ragged fur and when they reach his genitals, they pass through the center of the universe and gravity from the Northern Hemisphere of land to the Southern Hemisphere of water. The miniature depicts the confusion initially experienced by Dante when Virgil begins to climb “upward” toward the surface at the antipodes and he initially believes they are returning to Hell. They finally emerge from a narrow chasm under a starry sky.

Divina Commedia: Codex Altonensis
Single Page

Divine Comedy - Codex Altonensis

Lucifer

Dante depicts the fallen Angel of Light who once tried to usurp God’s power as being frozen in ice at his midsection; he is slobbering, wordless, and receives the same punishments in Hell as the rest of the sinners. Lucifer has three faces with three mouths, a perversion of the Holy Trinity, but still retains the six wings he had when he was counted among the seraphim.

Each mouth chews on a prominent traitor: Brutus and Cassius dangle with their feet in the left and right mouths as punishment for betraying Julius Caesar while Judas, the ultimate betrayer, has his head gnawed by the central, most vicious mouth as his back is continuously flayed by Lucifer’s claws. Dante and Virgil are shown climbing down his fur as they begin their flight from Hell.

Divina Commedia: Codex Altonensis
Facsimile Editions

#1 Divina Commedia: Codex Altonensis

Gebr. Mann Verlag – Berlin, 1965

Publisher: Gebr. Mann Verlag – Berlin, 1965
Limited Edition: 600 copies
Binding: Linen binding
1 volume: Exact reproduction of the original document (extent, color and size) Reproduction of the entire original document as detailed as possible (scope, format, colors). The binding may not correspond to the original or current document binding.
Price Category: €€ (1,000€ - 3,000€)
Edition available
Price: Log in here!
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