Regia Carmina

Regia Carmina – ArtCodex – Royal 6 E IX – British Library (London, United Kingdom)

Tuscany (Italy) β€” 1335–1340

Propaganda for the King with Pacino di Bonaguida's magically effective illumination: the visually powerful exhortation to Robert of Anjou, King of Naples, to unite Italy under his crown and end the Avignon Papacy

  1. This highpoint of Gothic book art was made between 1335 and 1340 for King Robert of Anjou (1275–1343)

  2. In the text, the King of Naples is exhorted to unify Italy under his crown and end the Avignon Papacy

  3. The Florentine master Pacino di Bonaguida (ca. 1303–47) is responsible for the magical illumination of the work

Regia Carmina

Facsimile Copy Available!
Price Category: €€€
(3,000€ - 7,000€)
  1. Description
  2. Detail Picture
  3. Single Page
  4. Facsimile Editions (1)
Description
Regia Carmina

This copy of the popular Panegyric of Robert of Anjou, also known as Regia Carmina, was created in Tuscany between 1335 and 1340 and is a true highlight of Trecento art. The 60 pages of this propagandistic work are decorated with 47 equally large and elaborate miniatures, which give special expression to the words of Convenevole da Prato. The Florentine master Pacino di Bonaguida, who not only illuminated manuscripts but also created impressive altarpieces, was responsible for this enchanting decoration of exciting and fantastical images and rich use of gold and silver leaf. The magnificent manuscript was one of the jewels of the library of the Neapolitan King Robert of Anjou, also called the Wise, to whom the work is dedicated, and is now part of the priceless collections of the British Library in London.

Regia Carmina by Convenevole da Prato

The Regia Carmina is a song of praise about the Italian King Robert of Anjou that is presented in a Gothic manuscript. The work is probably the most excitingly illuminated manuscript produced by Italian Gothic illuminators. It contains 47 full-page miniatures that sparkle and glow with gold and silver. The codex is truly a kingly feast for the senses of each beholder. In the text of the manuscript, the King of Naples is exhorted to unify Italy under his crown, to end the Avignon Papacy, and to bring the power of the church back to Rome.

The King of Naples

Robert of Anjou enjoyed high esteem from his people. The son of Charles II of Naples and Mary of Hungary obtained the epithet β€œthe Wise” during his time on the Italian throne. This name is thanks to his exceptionally active contribution to the patronage of scholarship and art. He patronized Francesco Petrarca, who he crowned a poet, and Giovanni Boccaccio, as well as artists like Tino di Camaino, Simone Martini, and Giotto di Bondone. The king’s exceptional song of praise is one of the outstanding masterpieces that his library housed.

Influential Book Master

The manuscript was very likely composed by Convenevole da Prato. He was a notary public and professor of logic, grammar, and rhetoric and was named as the first Latin teacher of Francesco Petrarca. Petrarch began a close friendship with his teacher, as has emerged from written descriptions of the famous poet. The Florentine master Pacino di Buonaguida is responsible for the magical illumination of the work. He made numerous gorgeous altarpieces, miniatures, and illuminations and counted among the most gifted masters of Italian Gothic book art.

Valuable Book Decoration

The king’s song of praise is adorned with 47 large miniatures and numerous additional decorative elements. Hardly any other codex in the Gothic style can measure up to the inconceivably rich miniatures of this work. The full-page miniatures show depictions of Robert of Anjou on his throne against a deep royal blue background affixed with golden lilies. There are depictions of **angels and saints to see, and of Jesus Christ, who is surrounded by golden rays and exotic animals and fabulous figures. Each page of the book contains such fantastical illuminations. The valuable codex is found today in the British Library in London.

Codicology

Alternative Titles
Regia Carmina
Das Lobgedicht auf KΓΆnig Robert von Anjou
Panegyric of Robert of Anjou
Size / Format
60 pages / 49.0 Γ— 35.0 cm
Origin
Italy
Date
1335–1340
Style
Language
Script
Gothic cursive
Illustrations
47 miniatures
Content
Praise to King Robert of Anjou in verse form
Artist / School
Previous Owners
Robert of Anjou, King of Naples (1278–1343)
George II, King of England
Old Royal Library

Available facsimile editions:
Regia Carmina – ArtCodex – Royal 6 E IX – British Library (London, United Kingdom)
ArtCodex – Modena
Limited Edition: 999 copies
Detail Picture

Regia Carmina by Convenevole da Prato

Personification of Faith

Kneeling with a crusader’s shield and holding up a large book inscribed with verses, this female figure is the personification of Faith, one of several allegorical figures in this work. Her deep blue dress is an allusion to the Virgin Mary and she is depicted with handsome but plain features and hair that falls naturally down past her shoulders. Faith’s silver shield is adorned with intricate tendril swirls and the gold trim of her dress is also created with great detail.

Regia Carmina – ArtCodex – Royal 6 E IX – British Library (London, United Kingdom)
Single Page

Regia Carmina by Convenevole da Prato

Portrait of Robert d’Anjou

Seated before a glimmering field of gold lilies and deep royal blue, we see Robert d’Anjou, 14th century Italy’s greatest hope for unification and the end of the Avignon Papacy. Created as a tribute to Robert by hopeful Italian admirers, this splendid Italian Gothic miniature shows the beloved monarch in profile, even detailing the lines in his aging face.

The fact that this is only one of numerous manuscripts devoted to King Robert indicates the central position he held in 14th century Italian politics. Holding an orb and a scepter with the fleur-de-lis, Robert’s shoes are elaborated with a fine pattern, as are the cushions of his throne. This is an outstanding example of Italian Gothic, a magnificent but short-lived style of medieval illumination.

Regia Carmina – ArtCodex – Royal 6 E IX – British Library (London, United Kingdom)
Facsimile Editions

#1 Regia Carmina di Convenevole da Prato

ArtCodex – Modena
Regia Carmina – ArtCodex – Royal 6 E IX – British Library (London, United Kingdom)
Regia Carmina – ArtCodex – Royal 6 E IX – British Library (London, United Kingdom) Photos with courtesy of the publisher

Publisher: ArtCodex – Modena
Limited Edition: 999 copies
Binding: Leather with gold decoration
Commentary: 1 volume
Language: Italian
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.
Facsimile Copy Available!
Price Category: €€€
(3,000€ - 7,000€)
You might also be interested in:
Poem of Praise for King Robert of Anjou – Akademische Druck- u. Verlagsanstalt (ADEVA) – Cod. Ser. n. 2639 – Γ–sterreichische Nationalbibliothek (Vienna, Austria)
Poem of Praise for King Robert of Anjou
Southern Italy – Ca. 1340

Against the Avignon Papacy and for the reunification of Italy: a magnificent work of propaganda for Robert the Wise, King of Naples, and a testimony to the self-image of a medieval ruler

Experience More
Divine Comedy - Palat. 313 Manuscript – Imago – Ms. Pal. 313 – Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale di Firenze (Florence, Italy)
Dante Alighieri - Divine Comedy - Dante Poggiali
Florence (Italy) – Second quarter of the 14th century

Featuring 37 masterful miniatures and unique commentaries: the oldest extant copy of the famous Commedia by Dante Alighieri

Experience More
Pacino di Bonaguida’s Picture Book – MΓΌller & Schindler – MS M.643 – Morgan Library & Museum (New York, USA)
Pacino di Bonaguida’s Picture Book
Florence (Italy) – 1320–1330

A pure picture book completely without text and one of the most beautiful works of the Italian Trecento: the life of Christ in 38 wonderfully luminous miniatures by Pacino de Bonaguida

Experience More
Panegyric in Honor of King Robert of Anjou – De Agostini/UTET – Banco Rari 38 – Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale di Firenze (Florence, Italy)
Panegyric in Honor of King Robert of Anjou
Florence (Italy) – First half of the 14th century

Medieval propaganda at its best: 30 magnificent miniatures and eulogistic poetry honoring the powerful politician and patron of the arts Robert the Wise, King of Naples

Experience More
Blog articles worth reading
Filter selection
Publisher