Legends of Saint Margaret and Saint Agnes

Legends of Saint Margaret and Saint Agnes Facsimile Edition

Bologna (Italy) — Late 13th century

Decorated with magnificent miniatures by the famous Gerona Master: elegant Gothic figures and influences from Byzantine illumination in a golden masterpiece

  1. The 13th century manuscript by the Gerona Master splendidly conveys the legends of both saintly virgins

  2. The so-called Gerona Master and his circle produced some of the most coveted Gothic manuscripts of the period

  3. Byzantine influences like burnished gold backgrounds blend with elegant Gothic figures in the miniatures

Legends of Saint Margaret and Saint Agnes

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  1. Description
  2. Detail Picture
  3. Single Page
  4. Facsimile Editions (1)
Description
Legends of Saint Margaret and Saint Agnes

This manuscript of the Legends of Saint Margaret and Saint Agnes was made by the so-called Gerona Master in the late-13th century Italy. Both saints were virgins and devoted Christians and both died a martyr’s death for resisting the lust of powerful men and did not waiver from their faith. As such, The work conveys the legends of both saintly virgins and is adorned by 33 full-page miniatures with gold backgrounds and innumerable filigree capitals in blue and red colors. It is clearly influenced by the Byzantine style of illumination, which was often imitated in 13th century art including the Gerona Master and his circle of artists. Vivid, colorful scenes peopled by elegant figures with expressive faces and gestures depict the lives of the saints as well as the manner in which they were tortured and eventually killed.

Legends of Saint Margaret and Saint Agnes

The Italian illumination of the Middle Ages produced some of the most beautiful illuminated manuscripts of Europe. Numerous famous masters created their works here, which served artists as templates worldwide. The so-called Gerona Master and the circle of young artists that had formed around him produced some of the most coveted Gothic manuscripts. Among these was also the breathtaking work that combined the saint’s legends of Margaret and Agnes. The gorgeous codex is furnished with 33 full-page miniatures and numerous colorful decorative initials.

Patron Saints of Women

Little is known from the lives of both St. Margaret and St. Agnes. In the Legends of Saint Margaret and Saint Agnes, which tells of their lives, it is recorded that both of them devoted their lives to Jesus Christ and remained virgins. They attracted attention and lust to themselves from powerful men, nevertheless they remained steadfast in their faith. For this reason they were taken prisoner, tortured, and suffered terrible agonies. Both died a martyr’s death. Margaret was deemed a patron saint for delivering women and difficult births after her death, Agnes as the patron saint of all children. The splendid codex of Gerona was produced at the end of the 13th century for a lordly milieu was dedicated to Ana, a lady in blessed circumstances, as a wish for a good pregnancy.

Filigree Decoration

The beautiful Italian codex is adorned with 33 full-page illustrations. The vivid, colorful scenes are found against a background of 23 carat gold leaf. Light, elegant figures move before relief-like background scenes. The high-quality painting clearly demonstrates Byzantine stylistic elements, which were commonly reproduced in the art of the 13th century. Alongside the graceful picture scenes, text pages of the work are embellished with countless filigree initials in red and blue colors. The work represents a true feast of the senses for the eye of each beholder. The original codex is found today in the Biblioteca Riccardiana in Florence.

Codicology

Alternative Titles
Le Leggende di S. Margherita e S. Agnese
Legenden der Heiligen Margareta und Agnes
Legends of Saints Margaret and Agnes
Size / Format
122 pages / 14.5 × 10.3 cm
Origin
Italy
Date
Late 13th century
Style
Language
Script
Gothic Quadrata
Illustrations
33 full-page miniatures and innumerable filigree capitals in blue and red colors
Content
Hagiography of St. Agnes and Margaret
Artist / School

Available facsimile editions:
Legends of Saint Margaret and Saint Agnes – ms. Ricc. 453 – Biblioteca Riccardiana (Florence, Italy) Facsimile Edition
ArtCodex – Modena, 2008
Limited Edition: 999 copies
Detail Picture

Legends of Saint Margaret and Saint Agnes

Saint Margaret Confronted by a Demon

After refusing to marry Olybrius, Governor of the Roman Diocese of the East, St. Margaret was imprisoned. There she was confronted inter alia by a demon named Veltis who had been closed in a vessel of brass by King Solomon but subsequently escaped with other demons when the conquering Babylonians opened the vessel looking for treasure. Margaret then banished the demon, who is depicted has a hairy human-like creature with horns, and a hole in earth opened up into which he descended.

Le Leggende di S. Margherita e S. Agnese
Single Page

Legends of Saint Margaret and Saint Agnes

Torture of Saint Margaret

After overcoming the demon Veltis and the Devil himself in the form of a dragon, St. Margaret was brought out of her cell once more. After being presented before a seated judge, who is richly dressed in blue robes trimmed with cloth of gold and wears a golden crown, and refusing to make a sacrifice to the Romans’ false gods, she is tortured further.

St. Margaret has been stripped naked and hung up by her wrists as burning brands are applied to her skin by two torturers. Rather than having an anguished look on her face, she accepts her martyrdom with serenity, causing one of her torturers to look back at the judge as though he were unsure of what to do next. The scene’s glimmering gold background indicates her proximity to the heavenly kingdom.

Le Leggende di S. Margherita e S. Agnese
Facsimile Editions

#1 Le Leggende di S. Margherita e S. Agnese

ArtCodex – Modena, 2008

Publisher: ArtCodex – Modena, 2008
Limited Edition: 999 copies
Binding: Blue velvet with gold and silver fittings, lapis lazuli stone on the cover center
Commentary: 1 volume by Giovanna Lazzi, Angelo Tartuferi, Massimo Medica and Rosanna Miriello
Language: Italian
1 volume: Exact reproduction of the original document (extent, color and size) 23 carat fine gold on CartaPergamena
Price Category: €€ (1,000€ - 3,000€)
Edition available
Price: Log in here!
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