Commissioned by Lorenzo de' Medici: Virgil's great works in a Renaissance masterpiece

Riccardiana Virgil - Bucolica, Georgica, Aeneis

Florence (Italy) — Around 1460

Riccardiana Virgil - Bucolica, Georgica, Aeneis

Riccardiana Virgil - Bucolica, Georgica, Aeneis

Florence (Italy) — Around 1460

  1. Apollonia di Giovanni created a fine specimen of works by Virgil (70-19) at the behest of Lorenzo de' Medici (1449-92)

  2. The primary works of the most important author of Roman antiquity are gorgeously presented here

  3. The astounding pictures show discernable influences from the political and social events of that time

Virgilio Riccardiano

Riccardiana Virgil - Bucolica, Georgica, Aeneid

Aeneas’ Fleet is Wrecked in a Storm

Virgil begins his work with the Trojan fleet sailing in the eastern Mediterranean in search for a new home in Italy where it has been foretold that Aeneas will father a noble and courageous nation that will become known to all races. However, Juno is wrathful because she was not chosen in the Judgment of Paris and because her favorite city, Carthage, will be destroyed by the descendants of Aeneas. The vengeful goddess induces Aeolus, King of the Winds, to punish the Trojans with a storm.

Riccardiana Virgil - Bucolica, Georgica, Aeneis

Alternative Titles:
  • Virgilio Riccardiano
  • Virgilius opera. Bucolica, Georgica, Aeneis
  • Riccardiana-Vergil - Bucolica, Georgica, Aeneis
Riccardiana Virgil - Bucolica, Georgica, Aeneis – ms. Ricc. 492 – Biblioteca Riccardiana (Florence, Italy)
Riccardiana Virgil - Bucolica, Georgica, Aeneis – ms. Ricc. 492 – Biblioteca Riccardiana (Florence, Italy)
Riccardiana Virgil - Bucolica, Georgica, Aeneis – ms. Ricc. 492 – Biblioteca Riccardiana (Florence, Italy)
Riccardiana Virgil - Bucolica, Georgica, Aeneis – ms. Ricc. 492 – Biblioteca Riccardiana (Florence, Italy)
Riccardiana Virgil - Bucolica, Georgica, Aeneis – ms. Ricc. 492 – Biblioteca Riccardiana (Florence, Italy)
Riccardiana Virgil - Bucolica, Georgica, Aeneis – ms. Ricc. 492 – Biblioteca Riccardiana (Florence, Italy)
Riccardiana Virgil - Bucolica, Georgica, Aeneis – ms. Ricc. 492 – Biblioteca Riccardiana (Florence, Italy)
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  1. Short Description
  2. Codicology

Short Description

The Riccardiana Virgil is a collected volume that contains the main works of the Roman poet Virgil. The codex was commissioned in 1460 by the famous Renaissance prince Lorenzo de Medici and was designed by the Florentine book artists Appolonio di Giovanni. The charming miniatures of the work, some of which were not completely finished, give their modern beholders a glimpse in the art of illumination in the Middle Ages.

Riccardiana Virgil - Bucolica, Georgica, Aeneid

The so-called Riccardiana Virgil is a true masterpiece of the great literature of the Latin poet Virgil. The manuscript contains the three main works of the poet, namely the Bucolica, Georgica, and the Aeneid, the Roman foundation myth. The illuminated codex was made at the behest of the Renaissance prince Lorenzo de Medici and is one of the most magnificent masterpieces stored today in the Riccardiana Library in Florence. The pages of the manuscript are illustrated with 88 staggering miniatures, numerous patterns in the borders, and excitingly adorned initials.

The Literature of Virgil

Virgil is unanimously celebrated today by experts as the most important author of Roman antiquity. His famous works in particular, the Bucolica (Eclogues), the Georgica, and the Aeneid, and their ideas revolutionized Latin literature. Shortly after his death, these were continuously copied, re-edited, commented on, and intertextually processed. The Roman national epic, the Aeneid, conveys the foundation myth and the pre-history of the founding of the city of Rome, processing the mythological fabrics from the Homeric epics of the Iliad and the Odyssey. The Eclogues or Bucolica, are a collection of ten pastoral poems that describe the life of Romans in the countryside in ancient times and the relationship of heads of state with their people. Similar themes were also addressed in the Georgica.

Interesting Book Art of the Renaissance

The miniatures of the manuscript are attributed to the Italian illuminators Apollonio di Giovanni and the staff of his artist studio. The astounding pictures show discernable influences from the political and social events of that time. For example, an image of people in oriental garments in the text section of the Aeneid is interpreted as a symbol for the fall of the Byzantine Empire in 1453. The splendid miniatures show the first-rate Florentine architecture of the Renaissance in the background, in front of which people bustle in eccentric clothes made of red and purple fabrics with embellishments of gold and silver. The pages of the text are decorated with numerous embellished initials in various sizes and designs. 19 of the total of 88 illustrations were not completed. These sketches and only partially-colored pictures gives the modern beholder a glimpse in the workings of the medieval illuminator and offers them an unforgettable journey through the art of the Renaissance.

Codicology

Alternative Titles
Virgilio Riccardiano
Virgilius opera. Bucolica, Georgica, Aeneis
Riccardiana-Vergil - Bucolica, Georgica, Aeneis
Size / Format
512 pages / 30.5 x 20.0 cm
Date
Around 1460
Language
Illustrations
88 miniatures. Frame scenes and initials. Some unfinished miniatures
Content
Complete text of the three great works of Publius Vergilius Maro (Bucoliche - Georgics - Aeneid)
Artist / School
Virgilio Riccardiano

Riccardiana Virgil – Bucolica, Georgica, Aeneis

The Trojan Horse

This bas-de-page miniature shows the Trojans bringing the poisoned gift of the Greeks into the city gate in a panoramic landscape seen showing Troy’s mighty walls stretching off into the distance where fields can be seen. The figures are exaggerated in size, being nearly as tall as the horse, which is supposed to be filled with dozens of warriors.

This is a testimony to the skill of the great master Apollonio di Giovanni di Tommaso, who has transformed ancient Troy into Renaissance Florence. Dressed in the elaborate fashions of 15th century Italy, the figures are depicted with great realism, emphasizing the musculature of their legs and thighs. Everything is bathed in an incredibly rich color palette embellished with silver and gold.

1 available facsimile edition(s) of „Riccardiana Virgil - Bucolica, Georgica, Aeneis“

Virgilio Riccardiano
Riccardiana Virgil - Bucolica, Georgica, Aeneis – ms. Ricc. 492 – Biblioteca Riccardiana (Florence, Italy)
Riccardiana Virgil - Bucolica, Georgica, Aeneis – ms. Ricc. 492 – Biblioteca Riccardiana (Florence, Italy)
Riccardiana Virgil - Bucolica, Georgica, Aeneis – ms. Ricc. 492 – Biblioteca Riccardiana (Florence, Italy)
Riccardiana Virgil - Bucolica, Georgica, Aeneis – ms. Ricc. 492 – Biblioteca Riccardiana (Florence, Italy)
Riccardiana Virgil - Bucolica, Georgica, Aeneis – ms. Ricc. 492 – Biblioteca Riccardiana (Florence, Italy)
Riccardiana Virgil - Bucolica, Georgica, Aeneis – ms. Ricc. 492 – Biblioteca Riccardiana (Florence, Italy)
Riccardiana Virgil - Bucolica, Georgica, Aeneis – ms. Ricc. 492 – Biblioteca Riccardiana (Florence, Italy)
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Virgilio Riccardiano

1 volume: Exact reproduction of the original document (extent, color and size)
Publisher
ArtCodex – Modena, 2008
Limited Edition
999
Binding
Embossed leather with a fillet frame. Comes In a box of precious wood.
Commentary
1 volume (172 pages) by Giovanna Lazzi
Language: Italian
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