Saint Francis - Legenda Maior

Saint Francis - Legenda Maior – Vallecchi – Ms. Vittorio Emanuele 411 – Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale Roma (Rome, Italy)

Emilia-Romagna (Italy) β€” Second half of the 14th century

The life of St. Francis of Assisi for an enigmatic patroness: gold-decorated miniatures from the Emilia Romagna with numerous depictions of the unknown, aristocratic donor

  1. The official biography of St. Francis of Assisi (1181/82–1226) in a luxurious 14th century edition

  2. 17 gold-backed miniatures are the product of the artistic landscape of Emilia Romagna

  3. A reoccurring female figure may represent the aristocratic patron of the codex

Saint Francis - Legenda Maior

Facsimile Copy Available!
Price Category: €€€
(3,000€ - 7,000€)
  1. Description
  2. Facsimile Editions (1)
Description
Saint Francis - Legenda Maior

The Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale in Rome preserves one of the most magnificent and valuable copies of the official medieval biography of St. Francis of Assisi (1181/82-1226), the famous Legenda Maior from the pen of the famous Bonaventura (1221-1274). This impressive manuscript from the second half of the 14th century is a wonderful Trecento artwork from Emilia Romagna and must have been commissioned by a high-ranking personality. Presumably they can be found in the enigmatic female figure which appears in several miniatures in the manuscript. Although it only contains a part of the text of the Legenda Maior, the manuscript is historically significant, as no older Francis of Assisi codex has survived in such a large format and with more luxurious illumination. Its 17 large miniatures and numerous ornamental and historiated initials make the manuscript an artful rarity.

Saint Francis - Legenda Maior

The official biography of St. Francis of Assisi, the famous Legenda Maior des Bonaventura, in a **luxurious 14th century edition. The impressive manuscript is a work of art from Emilia-Romagna and must have resulted from the commission of a high-ranking personality. Perhaps they can be found in the female figure, which appears in several miniatures in the manuscript. Although it only contains a part of the text of the Legenda Maior, the manuscript from Rome’s Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale in Rome is an exceptional work: in large format and splendidly furnished like all Francis of Assisi codices until then!

The Official Biography of Francis of Assisi

Francis of Assisi is famous as the founder of the order named after him, the Franciscans. In the 12th century, it was this order that commissioned an official biography of the Saint, which was supposed to supersede all previously used versions and be considered as authoritative. No one less than the great Franciscan Theologian Bonaventura da Bagnoregio is supposed to have composed this Legenda Maior. He finally completed his tale about the life of Saint Francis of Assisi in 1236. This saint’s vita, divided into 15 chapters, is considered to be one of Bonaventura’s primary works.

One of the Oldest, Greatest, and Most Beautiful Editions

An exceptional manuscript of the Legenda Maior by Bonaventura is stored under the shelf mark Ms. Vittorio Emanuele 411 in the Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale Roma. It is considered to be the most famous manuscript in the library. Originating from the second half of the 14th century – i.e. about a century after Bonaventura completed his magnum opus – the manuscript is a product of the artistic landscape of the Emilia Romagna, probably from the region around Bologna. Measuring 34.5 x 25 cm, it is not only larger than the Legenda Maior codices up until then, but also one of the oldest and most beautiful editions of the Legenda Maior!

The Handsome Miniatures

The life of Saint Francis of Assisi is presented in text and imagery on 188 pages. The manuscript does not indeed contain the entire text (just up until chapter eight), but shines nonetheless with its wonderful visual adornment. The colorful artistic furnishing is already reminiscent of the painting of the Italian Renaissance. Collectively, 17 large format miniatures of episodes from the life of the Saint stand at the beginning of their respective chapters. This method of presentation follows the famous cycle of the frescoes by Giotto in Assisi. Presented on precious gold backgrounds, they shape the luxurious overall impression of the manuscript. Such splendor indicates a wealthy patron. It has been speculated in research that this person could be the mysterious female figure who appears repeatedly in the miniatures…

Codicology

Alternative Titles
San Francesco - Legenda Maior
Franz von Assisi - Legenda Maior
Size / Format
188 pages / 34.5 Γ— 25.0 cm
Origin
Italy
Date
Second half of the 14th century
Style
Language
Script
Gothic Textura
Illustrations
17 large-format miniatures; numerous decorated initials, several of which are historiated
Content
Legenda maior sancti Francisci
Artist / School

Available facsimile editions:
Saint Francis - Legenda Maior – Vallecchi – Ms. Vittorio Emanuele 411 – Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale Roma (Rome, Italy)
Vallecchi – Florence, 2009
Limited Edition: 980 copies
Facsimile Editions

#1 San Francesco - Legenda Maior

Vallecchi – Florence, 2009
Saint Francis - Legenda Maior – Vallecchi – Ms. Vittorio Emanuele 411 – Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale Roma (Rome, Italy)
Saint Francis - Legenda Maior – Vallecchi – Ms. Vittorio Emanuele 411 – Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale Roma (Rome, Italy) Copyright Photos: Ziereis Facsimiles

Publisher: Vallecchi – Florence, 2009
Limited Edition: 980 copies
Binding: Dark brown, tooled Leather
Commentary: 1 volume by Franco Cardini, Francesca Niutta and Maria Alessandra Bilotta
Language: Italian
1 volume: Exact reproduction of the original document (extent, color and size) The facsimile is presented in a case lined with marbled paper and is completed by a commentary with essays by Professor Franco Cardini, internationally renowned medievalist, Dr. Francesca Niutta, director of the Manuscripts Fund of the Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale di Roma, and by Dr. Maria Alessandra Bilotta, a scholar of the medieval miniature.
Facsimile Copy Available!
Price Category: €€€
(3,000€ - 7,000€)
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