Divine Comedy Egerton 943

Divine Comedy Egerton 943 Facsimile Edition

Probably Padua (Italy) — 1320-1350

Likely the work of the Master of the Antiphonary of Padua: 253 golden miniatures from the Italian Trecento for Dante's Divine Comedy

  1. The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri (ca. 1265–1321) was formational for the modern Italian language

  2. 253 miniatures and other décor demonstrate influences from the Italian Trecento and the Bolognese school

  3. Although the patron is unknown, it is attributed to the Master of the Antiphonary of Padua

Divine Comedy Egerton 943

  1. Description
  2. Facsimile Editions (1)
Divine Comedy Egerton 943

One of the oldest and most beautiful specimens of the Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri (ca. 1265–1321) was created in Padua in the early–14th century. The work was formational for the modern Italian language, and Dante stands as one of the most important authors of the entire Middle Ages. Although the patron of this particular manuscript remains anonymous, it is believed to originate from Padua from the workshop of the Master of the Antiphonary of Padua. The 253 miniatures and other décor in the manuscript demonstrate influences from the Italian Trecento and specifically from the Bolognese school. It displays innovative features such as early attempts at three-dimensionality, and stands out among the illuminated manuscripts of Dante’s magnum opus.

Divine Comedy Egerton 943

Dante Alighieri (ca. 1265–1321) is considered to be the father of the Italian language and his Divina Commedia is not only considered to be the preeminent work of Italian literature but also the most important poem of the Middle Ages. In it, he travels through Hell, Purgatory, and Paradise as he is guided by the Roman poet Virgil (70–21 BC). During his allegorical journey, he comes into contact with many prominent historical figures. The work has since influenced countless of other authors and is one of the most referenced pieces of literature in the Western literary tradition.

An Early Dante Masterpiece

The early–14th century specimen from Padua that we have before us today is one of the oldest and most beautiful editions of Dante’s work, and in fact predates the application of the term “Divine” to the title, which first appeared in 1555. It features 253 miniatures in red frames in addition to historiated initials and diagrams of heaven, hell, and Earth. The lovely colors of the illustrations are further elevated through the use of shimmering gold and silver. This artistic program has been ascribed to the Master of the Antiphonary of Padua and is supposed to directly aid the reader in comprehending the text, part of a tradition that has come to be known as “Dante Illustrato”. No patron has ever been determined. Every page features either 16 tercets (three lined poems) or 12–13 tercets with a miniature. The influence of the Trecento and the Bolognese school in particular are evident in the decorative grounds and the tendency of the figures to exceed their frames. Figure are often facing away from the reader, giving the impression that the miniature is only a window into a larger scene. The miniatures possess a nascent three-dimensionality, adding to the narrative realism of the manuscript. All of this is housed in a 17th century binding of red leather with gold tooling.


Size / Format
376 pages / 39.0 × 26.0 cm
Gothic Textura Rotunda
261 miniatures; 3 historiated initials; 2 diagrams of Hell; foliate initials
Text of the Divine Comedy with Latin commentaries and the verses added by Jacopo Alighieri
Artist / School
Previous Owners
Baron August von Koller

Available facsimile editions:
Divine Comedy Egerton 943 – Ms. Egerton 943 – British Library (London, United Kingdom) Facsimile Edition
Istituto dell'Enciclopedia Italiana - Treccani – Rome, 2015
Limited Edition: 599 copies
Facsimile Editions

#1 La Divina Commedia - Il codice Egerton

Limited Edition: 599 copies
Commentary: 1 volume by Massimo Bray, Federica Toniolo, Chiara Ponchia, Marco Santagata and Anna Pegoretti
Language: Italian
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: Login here!
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