Modi Orandi Sancti Dominici

Modi Orandi Sancti Dominici – Belser Verlag – Ross. 3 (1) – Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana (Vatican City, State of the Vatican City)

Southern France, possibly Arles or Lerins β€” Second quarter of the 14th century; Later additions to the manuscript in 15th century

A precious girdle book as a special sign of devotion to St. Dominic: a handy devotional book with ten wonderful miniatures of the Order's founder in prayer or meditation

  1. In the early 13th century, St. Dominic (1170–1221) founded the Order of Preachers, the Dominican Order

  2. The brothers’ veneration of Saint Dominic is shown in this precious girdle book

  3. The work contains ten gorgeous miniatures, which show St. Dominic in prayer and meditation

Modi Orandi Sancti Dominici

Facsimile Copy Available!
Price Category: €
(under 1,000€)
  1. Description
  2. Detail Picture
  3. Single Page
  4. Facsimile Editions (1)
Description
Modi Orandi Sancti Dominici

The Modi Orandi Sancti Dominici is a manuscript, which arose in the 13th century and was expanded during the 14th and 15th centuries. Its ten colorful miniatures depict St. Dominic in scenes of prayer and meditation and the text is adorned by numerous decorative initials in red and blue. Presumably created for a member of the Dominican Order or a closely associated nobleman, the codex takes the form of a so-called β€œgirdle book”, a popular fashion accessory between the 13th and 16th centuries, especially among women. Its leather binding had a long tapering tail with a knot at the end that would be tucked into one’s girdle. The book would be hung upside down and backwards so that it could be read correctly when swung upward. Important figures like saints and apostles were often depicted with girdle books in medieval art.

Modi Orandi Sancti Dominici

In the early 13th century, St. Dominic founded the Order of Preachers, also known as the Dominican Order. What makes the Order of Preacher so exceptional is its democratic constitution. All the brothers carry the same responsibility for the realization of the objectives of the religious order. There is a right to be heard at all levels. All the top brass are elected for a time. A feeling of community prevails among the brothers of the order. The veneration, which the brothers showed for St. Dominic, was enunciated in the second quarter of the 14th century with a valuable manuscript. The work shows the gestures of prayer and meditation of St. Dominic in high quality images.

A Gothic Act of the Saints

The work contains ten miniatures, which show St. Dominic in prayer and meditation. Its images illuminate in an astounding variety of colors and patterns. Sometimes multiple people are pictured in a scene, sometimes St. Dominic is seen alone. There are depictions in architecturally through-composed frames and scenes that occur in free and natural landscapes. The manuscript contains additional dΓ©cor elements along with the prayer scenes. Countless initials patterned with filigree and depictions of animals adorn the text. No limits were set on the fantasy of the Gothic illuminators.

The Journey of the Document through History

The breviary of St. Dominic was edited and expanded over several centuries. The Latin text of the work was composed probably ca. 1270 in northern Italy by a scribe whose name is not known. The text was combined with the miniatures sometime in the middle of the 14th century. In the 15th century, the document was appended with further amendments, happening probably in the south of France. Today the well-travelled work is found in the Vatican Library.

Codicology

Alternative Titles
Novem modus orandi sancti Dominici
Modus orandi sancti Dominici
Modi orandi corporales
Modi orandi corporaliter
Modi orandi sancti dominici
Gebets- und Andachtsgesten des Heiligen Dominicus - Beutelbuch
Size / Format
312 pages / 16.6 Γ— 12.0 cm
Origin
France
Date
Second quarter of the 14th century; Later additions to the manuscript in 15th century
Style
Language
Script
Southern Textura Libraria
Illustrations
10 miniatures depicting St. Dominic in prayer and meditation, countless initials patterned with filigree and depictions of animals adorn the text
Content
Original text by an anonymous author from ca. 1270 in Italy plus hagiographies and prayers

Available facsimile editions:
Modi Orandi Sancti Dominici – Belser Verlag – Ross. 3 (1) – Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana (Vatican City, State of the Vatican City)
Belser Verlag – Zurich, 1995
Limited Edition: 900 copies
Detail Picture

Modi Orandi Sancti Dominici

Saint Dominic at Study

The founder of the Dominican Order is seated at a desk with a gold leaf halo in a small but beautiful cell. An open door leads out into a lush garden filled with fruits trees, which is likely the monastery’s orchard. The room has a patterned tile floor and an arched roof supported by beams. In the corner, a large crucifix begins to bleed miraculously, a sign of the favor shown to Saint Dominic. The subtle frame makes it look as though bricks have been removed to give us a glimpse inside.

Modi Orandi Sancti Dominici – Belser Verlag – Ross. 3 (1) – Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana (Vatican City, State of the Vatican City)
Single Page

Modi Orandi Sancti Dominici

Self-Flagellation of Saint Dominic

Before being banned by the Catholic Church in the 14th century, self-flagellation was practiced by some of the clergy and the laity. Those who carried the practice to an extreme are known as Flagellants. Saint Dominic is supposed to have worn a hair shirt and flagellated himself regularly as an act of piety.

Like the majority of the miniatures in this codex, this scene is presented in a wonderful interior space as though the fourth wall has been removed. Kneeling on a diamond-patterned floor, Dominic is depicted mid-strike with a wan and devout expression on his face. He is wearing white but covered with blood and the crucifix he faces is bleeding as well. Little color is used, mostly shades of brown, but the halos and altar are highlighted with gold leaf.

Modi Orandi Sancti Dominici – Belser Verlag – Ross. 3 (1) – Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana (Vatican City, State of the Vatican City)
Facsimile Editions

#1 Modi orandi sancti dominici: Die Gebets- und Andachtsgesten des Hl. Dominicus

Belser Verlag – Zurich, 1995

Publisher: Belser Verlag – Zurich, 1995
Limited Edition: 900 copies
Binding: Goat leather, bound as girdle book
Commentary: 1 volume (96 pages) by Leonard E. Boyle, Jean-Claude Schmitt, Wilhelm Blum, and Christoph Wetzel
Language: German
1 volume: This facsimile is not complete. Fols. 5r-15v are reproduced. 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.
Facsimile Copy Available!
Price Category: €
(under 1,000€)
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