Obra a Llaors del Benaventurat lo Senyor Sent Cristofol

Obra a Llaors del Benaventurat lo Senyor Sent Cristofol Facsimile Edition

Valencia (Spain) — February 3, 1498

Acquired from a Parisian auction in 1891: the only surviving record of a poetry competition held in Valencia in August of 1488

  1. In August of 1488, a "poetry fair" was held in Valencia, a record of which was produced a decade later

  2. It was reprinted in Valencia by Pedro Trincher on February 3rd, 1498 with initials and various decorative elements

  3. The only surviving specimen was auctioned in Paris in 1891 after being owned by a long line of bibliophiles

Obra a Llaors del Benaventurat lo Senyor Sent Cristofol

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  1. Description
  2. Detail Picture
  3. Single Page
  4. Facsimile Editions (1)
Description
Obra a Llaors del Benaventurat lo Senyor Sent Cristofol

This codex represents the only surviving copy of a work printed in 1498 that has been highly coveted by academics and bibliophiles for centuries. It contains the works of fifteen poets from a Valencian poetry fair in August of 1488 is presented with splendid initials and other décor. Most notably there are two full-page woodcuts, one depicting the Virgin of Montserrat, a Catalonian variation of the Madonna and Child in which the Virgin holds an orb in her right hand, and another depicting Saint Christopher. The fair was dedicated to the patron of travelers, who has been consistently depicted in literature and popular culture since the 6th century. After passing through numerous hands, the codex finally found a safe and permanent repository in the Biblioteca Nacional de España.

Obra a Llaors del Benaventurat lo Senyor Sent Cristofol

In August of 1488, a Justa poética or poetry fair was held in Valencia, a record of which was produced a decade later. This incunabulum, an early printed book predating 1501, was published in the Valencian print shop of Pedro Trincher on the 3rd of February 1498 and is stored today in the Biblioteca Nacional de España under the shelf mark Inc. 1471. It contains the work of fifteen poets, one of them anonymous, in neatly printed Gothic text with initials and various decorative elements. The title page is a woodcut with large white lettering and a mandorla containing the Virgin of Montserrat, the overleaf has an image of Saint Christopher, and an image of Christ Crucified comes at the end. It represents the only surviving copy of the work and this coveted codex has been owned by a long line of bibliophiles.
The Biblioteca Nacional de España acquired the codex from a Parisian auction in 1891, but it had a long list of owners in previous 390+ years of its existence. Notable owners include Ricardo Heredia y Livermore, Comte de Benahavis and the antiquarian Vicent Salvà i Pérez, who are listed in the ex libris, as well as other bibliophiles and dealers including Croft, White Knights, Herber's and Thorpe, from whom Salvá acquired the sought-after copy as is documented in the super libris. This impressive list of owners is proof positive of the value and desirability of this true unicum.

Saint Christopher

Saint Christopher was a martyr living during the 3rd or 4th centuries who was killed during the reign of the Roman Emperor Decius or possibly Maximinus Daia according to some sources (the confusion seems to be due to the similarity of their names). Either way, he would have lived during a turbulent period in history when the Roman Empire was torn apart by civil wars and left open to attack from foreign powers like the Goths and Persians. The most common story associated with Christopher tells of how he carried a child on his back across a river, only for the grateful boy to reveal himself as Jesus Christ. It is for this reason that he is considered to be the patron saint of travelers. Epics about Christopher’s life began to appear in the 6th century and had spread as far as France by the 9th century and he continues to be a popular literary and artistic subject up to the present. This collection of poetry is merely one exemplar of that tradition, albeit a particularly rare and precious specimen.

Codicology

Size / Format
108 pages / 20.0 × 14.0 cm
Origin
Spain
Date
February 3, 1498
Style
Language
Script
Gothic
Illustrations
Woodcuts and adorned initials
Content
Party religious poems by fifteen different poets
Artist / School
Previous Owners
Croft
White Knights
Herber's
Thorpe
Salvá
Count of Benahavs
Ricardo Heredia
Livermore

Available facsimile editions:
Obra a Llaors del Benaventurat lo Senyor Sent Cristofol  – Inc. 1471 – Biblioteca Nacional de España (Madrid, Spain) Facsimile Edition
Vicent Garcia Editores – Valencia, 1997
Limited Edition: 3160 copies
Detail Picture

Obra a Llaors del Benaventurat lo Senyor Sent Cristofol

Virgin of Montserrat

The title page includes a mandorla or almond-shaped aureola featuring the Virgin Mary, who is dressed in sumptuous flowing robes and crowned as Queen of Heaven, holding a naked baby Jesus among a mountainous landscape featuring two crosses. The image, modelled on the Virgin of Montserrat, is flanked by two acanthus leaves. The details of this woodcut are unfortunately obscured by too much ink, e.g. the eyes of both figures are too large and dark, giving them an ominous look.

Obra a Llaors del Benaventurat lo Senyor Sent Cristofol
Single Page

Obra a Llaors del Benaventurat lo Senyor Sent Cristofol

Saint Christopher

According to legend, Saint Christopher carried an unknown child on his back across a river before the child revealed himself as Christ. He has since been regarded as the patron saint of travelers who often carry images of him. Instead of the archetypal composition of the saint crossing a river from left to right, he is depicted here walking toward the viewer.

Halos adorn the heads of both saint and child, who is dressed in a flowing cape and holds a globus cruciger while making the sign of the benediction. A beggar stands on the right bank and a praying man on the left. This fine woodcut is presented in a splendid vegetal and zoomorphic frame featuring rabbits, songbirds, falcons, dragons, and a coat of arms with a squirrel and three roses.

Obra a Llaors del Benaventurat lo Senyor Sent Cristofol
Facsimile Editions

#1 Obra a Llaors del Benaventurat lo Senyor Sent Cristofol

Vicent Garcia Editores – Valencia, 1997

Publisher: Vicent Garcia Editores – Valencia, 1997
Limited Edition: 3160 copies
Binding: Parchment on wooden board.
Commentary: 1 volume by Francisco Calero
Language: Spanish
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: € (under 1,000€)
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