History of the Destruction of Troy

History of the Destruction of Troy

France — End of the 14th century

The Quattrocento in French illumination: the famous work by Guido de Columnis with exceptional Gothic miniatures

  1. The popular historical work by Guido de Columnis (born ca 1165) in a grandiose 14th century French manuscript

  2. It is clearly influenced by the Italian Quattrocento and yet rooted within the tradition of French illumination

  3. Catherine the Great (1729–1796) was interested in buying it, but the powerful Stroganov family acquired it instead

History of the Destruction of Troy

Lat.F.v.IV.5 National Library of Russia (St. Petersburg, Russia)
  1. Description
  2. Facsimile Editions (1)
Description
History of the Destruction of Troy

The popular historical work by Guido de Columnis in a grandiose 14th century French manuscript: this magnificent edition of the History of the Destruction of Troy, whose provenance is associate with famous names, is stored in the Russian National Library in St. Petersburg. Two French miniaturists created the impressive visual adornment of the manuscript at the end of the 14th century, clearly influenced by the Italian Quattrocento and yet completely rooted within the tradition of the period’s outstanding French illumination. In this way, the work of Guido de Columnis can be discovered in a magnificent combination with outstanding illumination!

History of the Destruction of Troy

The popular historical work by Guido de Columnis in a grandiose 14th century French manuscript: this magnificent edition of the History of the Destruction of Troy, whose provenance is associate with famous names, is stored in the Russian National Library in St. Petersburg. Two French miniaturists created the impressive visual adornment of the manuscript at the end of the 14th century, clearly influenced by the Italian Quattrocento and yet completely rooted within the tradition of the period’s outstanding French illumination. In this way, the work of Guido de Columnis can be discovered in a magnificent combination with outstanding illumination!

Grandiose Battle Scenes

Waring hosts in luminous blue armor people the miniatures. Kings and protagonists are in bright colors, the people are represented as elegant gothic figures with elongated bodies, and there are decorative backgrounds with medieval peasants before a colorful raster. Gorgeous initials and exuberant bordures of fine foliage additionally characterize the elegant overall impression of the manuscript. Clearly oriented stylistically on the Italian art of the Quattrocento, the paintings are nonetheless rooted firmly in the tradition of the outstanding French illumination of that period. Two anonymous miniaturists took part in the furnishing of the manuscript. The battle scenes display an impressive variety of gestures and movements and so they are an expression of the great mastery of these artists!

The History of Troy According to Guido de Columnis

Manuscript Lat.F.v.IV.5 of the Russian National Library in St. Petersburg contains a total of 35 miniatures on 302 pages. These illustrate the famous text by Guido de Columnis about the destruction of Troy. Columnis composed his magnum opus in elegant Latin between 1270 and 1287 and organized it into 35 chapters. The text was adopted from Benoît de Sainte-Maure and enriched with his own ideas. Therefore, it contained moralizing notes, inter alia, to help Christians understand the story. At the time of its creation – the late 14th century – the St. Petersburg codex was extremely popular across all of Europe.

Desired by the Tsarina

Several famous names are bound-up with the St. Petersburg manuscript. The history of the codex up until the 18th century remains a mystery. It then first appeared in the possession of Jean-Louis Gaignant, a French book dealer. Catherine the Great was interested in buying Gaignant’s entire collection. However, the Trojan codex was acquired at the same time by the powerful Stroganov family. The treasured book finally reached the Russian National Library in 1889, where it is stored like a true gem today.

Codicology

Alternative Titles
Historia de la destrucción de Troya
Geschichte von der Zerstörung Trojas
Le Roman de Troie, de Benoit de Sainte-Maure
Size / Format
302 pages / 28.8 × 22.2 cm
Origin
France
Date
End of the 14th century
Style
Language
Script
Bastard Secretary
Illustrations
35 miniatures with elaborately patterned backgrounds, 38 decorative miniatures with gold leaf, floral tendril marginalia
Content
Latin prose narrative of the Trojan legend
Artist / School
Previous Owners
Jean-Louis Gaignant
Stroganov family

Available facsimile editions:
History of the Destruction of Troy – Lat.F.v.IV.5 – National Library of Russia (St. Petersburg, Russia)
Orbis Mediaevalis – Madrid, 2016
Limited Edition: 299 copies
Facsimile Editions

#1 Historia de la destrucción de Troya

Orbis Mediaevalis – Madrid, 2016

Publisher: Orbis Mediaevalis – Madrid, 2016
Limited Edition: 299 copies
Binding: Bound in leather embossed in gold In a protective case with the commentary volume
Commentary: 1 volume by José M. Salvador González and Natalia Elaguina
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.
Regular price without login (like new)3,790 
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