A 13th century illuminated codex from Verona: the life of the Blessed Virgin and various saints in captivating pictures

Prayer to the Virgin

Verona (Italy) — Second half of the 13th century

Prayer to the Virgin

Prayer to the Virgin

Verona (Italy) — Second half of the 13th century

  1. A truly special illuminated manuscript originated in the Convent of St. Mary Magdalene in Verona

  2. Each page is illuminated and contains 78 enthralling miniatures, which closely follow events in the text

  3. The Vitae of various saints are presented within the framework of this colorful, gilded artistry

Preghiera alla Vergine

Prayer to the Virgin

Christ Benedictory

Flanked by the Evangelist Symbols for St. Matthew and St. John, Christ is pictured giving the sign of benediction. Rather than a simple eagle, St. John is represented by a drollery – a hybrid creature with the body of a man and the head of an eagle. Christ is shown with porcelain skin and rosy cheeks, which contrast with his deep red cloak and green tunic. This fine work of Italian Gothic exhibits influences from Byzantine art with respect to its expressive gestures and standardized forms.

Prayer to the Virgin

Alternative Titles:
  • Preghiera alla Vergine e Leggende di San Giorgio e Santa Margherita
  • Prayer to the Vergin and legends of St. George and St. Margaret
  • Gebet zur Jungfrau Maria und die Legenden des Hl. Georg und der Hl. Margarete
Prayer to the Virgin – MS 1853 – Biblioteca Civica di Verona (Verona, Italy)
Prayer to the Virgin – MS 1853 – Biblioteca Civica di Verona (Verona, Italy)
Prayer to the Virgin – MS 1853 – Biblioteca Civica di Verona (Verona, Italy)
Prayer to the Virgin – MS 1853 – Biblioteca Civica di Verona (Verona, Italy)
Prayer to the Virgin – MS 1853 – Biblioteca Civica di Verona (Verona, Italy)
Prayer to the Virgin – MS 1853 – Biblioteca Civica di Verona (Verona, Italy)
Prayer to the Virgin – MS 1853 – Biblioteca Civica di Verona (Verona, Italy)
Prayer to the Virgin – MS 1853 – Biblioteca Civica di Verona (Verona, Italy)
Prayer to the Virgin – MS 1853 – Biblioteca Civica di Verona (Verona, Italy)
Prayer to the Virgin – MS 1853 – Biblioteca Civica di Verona (Verona, Italy)
Prayer to the Virgin – MS 1853 – Biblioteca Civica di Verona (Verona, Italy)
Prayer to the Virgin – MS 1853 – Biblioteca Civica di Verona (Verona, Italy)
Prayer to the Virgin – MS 1853 – Biblioteca Civica di Verona (Verona, Italy)
Prayer to the Virgin – MS 1853 – Biblioteca Civica di Verona (Verona, Italy)
Prayer to the Virgin – MS 1853 – Biblioteca Civica di Verona (Verona, Italy)
Prayer to the Virgin – MS 1853 – Biblioteca Civica di Verona (Verona, Italy)
Prayer to the Virgin – MS 1853 – Biblioteca Civica di Verona (Verona, Italy)
Prayer to the Virgin – MS 1853 – Biblioteca Civica di Verona (Verona, Italy)
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  1. Short Description
  2. Codicology

Short Description

The Prayer to the Virgin is a codex containing an appeal to the Virgin Mary as well as the legends of St. George and St. Margaret. The work was created in the second half of the 13th century and each page of the manuscript is illuminated in the Gothic style. It is noteworthy that the miniatures reflected the events in the text. Consequently, the reader is given an understanding of the dramatic events in the lives of saints in exciting pictures.

Prayer to the Virgin

A truly special illuminated manuscript was manufactured in the second half of the 13th century in the Convent of St. Mary Magdalene in Verona. The Prayer to the Virgin, which also contained the Invocation of the Blessed Virgin and the legends of St. George and St. Margaret, is notable for its elaborate book decoration. Each page of the splendid work is illuminated. Altogether, the manuscript contains 78 enthralling miniatures, which closely correspond to the events in the text. This enables the reader to comprehend the touching descriptions from the lives of saints in fascinating pictures.

Illumination from Verona

The first two pages of the manuscript contain the text of the Prayer to the Virgin, one of the oldest lauds in the vernacular of Verona. The following pages, all of them illuminated, are divided between the legends of St. George of Cappadocia and St. Margaret of Antioch. The legends are decorated with miniatures, which exerted great influence on medieval artists across the world. A particularly famous image shows St. George on the back of a horse as he kills a dragon with a lance. A princess holds on to the dragon with a tether. This precise image scene was painted by the great Italian Renaissance artist Pisanello for his fresco in the Church of St. Anastasia in Verona.

Two Great Saint’s Legends of Christendom

In the Middle Ages, the legend of St. George as well as that of St. Margaret were among the most-beloved stories of the Christian world. The history of George of Cappadocia is illustrated with 55 miniatures in the Verona codex. The legend tells of how George refused to foreswear his Christian faith in spite of the Emperor Diocletian’s decree and was executed by the Prefect Dacian. The legend of St. Margaret of Antioch was also one of the most beloved motifs of Christian artwork. It concerns the young shepherdess Margaret of Antioch, whom the Roman Governor Olybrius fell in love with. Since she rejected the statesman, she was sentenced to a painful death as a rebel against the power of Rome. The tragic history of Margaret is made comprehensible to the beholder through 21 fascinating and impressive pictorial scenes in the Gothic style.

Codicology

Alternative Titles
Preghiera alla Vergine e Leggende di San Giorgio e Santa Margherita
Prayer to the Vergin and legends of St. George and St. Margaret
Gebet zur Jungfrau Maria und die Legenden des Hl. Georg und der Hl. Margarete
Size / Format
84 pages / 24.0 x 17.0 cm
Date
Second half of the 13th century
Style
Illustrations
78 miniatures
Artist / School
Preghiera alla Vergine

Prayer to the Virgin

St. George and the Dragon

The popular patron saint of warriors, especially venerated by Crusaders, is depicted here in this pastel-colored Gothic miniature. St. George, wearing a green tunic with blue tights and a red cloak lined with a white and blue pattern, tramples the dragon astride a gray-blue horse with white spots. Unlike most depictions, St. George’s cross is depicted as white on a field of red.

Although in the moment of defeat, the dragon looks directly and defiantly at St. George as he drives a spear into its flaming mouth. Its folded wings and clawed feet are rendered in a lovely shade of pink, which contrasts with the green scaly body of the beast. The princess´, who was going to be the next offering for the dragon, holds it by the neck with a red tether.

1 available facsimile edition(s) of „Prayer to the Virgin“

Preghiera alla Vergine
Prayer to the Virgin – MS 1853 – Biblioteca Civica di Verona (Verona, Italy)
Prayer to the Virgin – MS 1853 – Biblioteca Civica di Verona (Verona, Italy)
Prayer to the Virgin – MS 1853 – Biblioteca Civica di Verona (Verona, Italy)
Prayer to the Virgin – MS 1853 – Biblioteca Civica di Verona (Verona, Italy)
Prayer to the Virgin – MS 1853 – Biblioteca Civica di Verona (Verona, Italy)
Prayer to the Virgin – MS 1853 – Biblioteca Civica di Verona (Verona, Italy)
Prayer to the Virgin – MS 1853 – Biblioteca Civica di Verona (Verona, Italy)
Prayer to the Virgin – MS 1853 – Biblioteca Civica di Verona (Verona, Italy)
Prayer to the Virgin – MS 1853 – Biblioteca Civica di Verona (Verona, Italy)
Prayer to the Virgin – MS 1853 – Biblioteca Civica di Verona (Verona, Italy)
Prayer to the Virgin – MS 1853 – Biblioteca Civica di Verona (Verona, Italy)
Prayer to the Virgin – MS 1853 – Biblioteca Civica di Verona (Verona, Italy)
Prayer to the Virgin – MS 1853 – Biblioteca Civica di Verona (Verona, Italy)
Prayer to the Virgin – MS 1853 – Biblioteca Civica di Verona (Verona, Italy)
Prayer to the Virgin – MS 1853 – Biblioteca Civica di Verona (Verona, Italy)
Prayer to the Virgin – MS 1853 – Biblioteca Civica di Verona (Verona, Italy)
Prayer to the Virgin – MS 1853 – Biblioteca Civica di Verona (Verona, Italy)
Prayer to the Virgin – MS 1853 – Biblioteca Civica di Verona (Verona, Italy)
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Preghiera alla Vergine

1 volume: Exact reproduction of the original document (extent, color and size)
Publisher
Il Bulino, edizioni d'arte – Modena, 2006
Limited Edition
600 copies
Binding
Wooden boards covered with red leather with straps and clasps
Commentary
1 volume by Daniele Bini, Agostino Contò and Giuseppa Z. Zanichelli
More Information
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.
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