Squarcialupi Codex

Squarcialupi Codex – Giunti Editore – Ms. Mediceo Palatino 87 – Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana (Florence, Italy)

Monastery of Santa Maria degli Angeli, Florence (Italy) β€” 1410–1420

The secular music of the Florentine Trecento collected in a magnificent manuscript: 352 works by 14 famous Italian composers presented in gold-adorned Renaissance portraits

  1. This splendid codex is an incomparable compendium of secular music from the Trecento in Florence

  2. The musical manuscript contains 352 works from fourteen famous composers altogether

  3. With its golden composer portraits, the work is the epitome of Renaissance painting

Squarcialupi Codex

Facsimile Copy Available!
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(3,000€ - 7,000€)
  1. Description
  2. Detail Picture
  3. Single Page
  4. Facsimile Editions (1)
Squarcialupi Codex

The Codex Squarcialupi presents itself as a splendid Italian manuscript of the early 15th century in the exuberant robe of the Renaissance. And this splendour is more than appropriate, since the codex is an incomparable compendium of the secular music of the Trecento in Florence, created in the monastery of Santa Maria degli Angeli. It contains over 350 works by the most important Italian composers of the 14th century, whose portraits appear in elaborate historiated initials. However, the manuscript got its name from the organist and composer Antonio Squarcialupi, who was allowed to call it his own in the further course of the 15th century. Afterwards, the magnificent codex reached the Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana in Florence via Raffaele Bonamici and Giuliano di Lorenzo de' Medici as early as around 1512/1513, where it is still kept today.

Squarcialupi Codex

Antonio Squarcialupi lent his name to this impressive codex. Squarcialupi (1416–1480) was a significant Florentine organist and composer during the 15th century, who stood in service of the Medici inter alia. The impressive manuscript, which found itself in his possession, is thus also associated with the Medici and is stored today in the Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana in Florence.

A Cross Section of the Secular Music of the Trecento

The Squarcialupi Codex originated in the years 1410–20 and is an illuminated manuscript from the Monastery of Santa Maria degli Angeli in Florence. On its 432 pages, the codex collects an unbelievable wealth of secular music from the Trecento: 352 works altogether from fourteen famous composers. Alongside the great Francesco Landini one finds inter alia Bartolino da Padova, NiccolΓ² da Perugia, Andrea da Firenze, Jacopo da Bologna, Lorenzo da Firenze, Gherardello da Firenze, Donato da Cascia, Giovanni da Cascia, and Vincenzo da Rimini.

The Manuscript as a Work of Art

The appearance of the codex is also impressive: the visual adornment presents the work as the epitome of the Renaissance: exuberant decorative frames consisting of bright, floral ornaments and accentuated with gold surround the songs. Musical instruments and other symbolic objects as well as human, animal, and mythical figures people the garlands and thus represent the connection of the decoration with the content of the songs. Large initials with portraits in the compositions introduce the individual chapters and fine, extremely artful initials precede the individual compositions. The Squarcialupi Codex is an all-around synthesis of the arts: an unbelievable anthology of 14th century music and simultaneously a true treasure of an Italian Renaissance manuscript!


Alternative Titles
Codice Squarcialupi
Size / Format
432 pages / 41.0 Γ— 28.5 cm
Lush gold ornamentation in large historiated initials with composer portraits, detailed borders, and countless fleuronnΓ©e initials in blue and red
Artist / School
Previous Owners
Antonio Squarcialupi
Medici Family
Palatine Library in Florence

Available facsimile editions:
Squarcialupi Codex – Giunti Editore – Ms. Mediceo Palatino 87 – Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana (Florence, Italy)
Giunti Editore – Florence, 1992
Limited Edition: 998 copies
Detail Picture

Squarcialupi Codex

Portrait of Donato da Cascia

Seventeen compositions in this music manuscript are attributed to Donato da Cascia and are considered to be some of the finest works of the Italian Ars nova, the late medieval musical style which was associated with the proliferation of polyphonic and secular music. Despite all of this, almost nothing is known about the man other than that he was active in Tuscany between 1350 and 1370. This historiated initial with a burnished gold background depicts him as a Benedictine monk.

Squarcialupi Codex – Giunti Editore – Ms. Mediceo Palatino 87 – Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana (Florence, Italy)
Single Page

Squarcialupi Codex

Portrait of Francesco Landini

This manuscript presents the music of the Italian Renaissance and pays tribute to its composers, including Francesco Landini, an Italian singer, organist, poet, and instrument-maker. His portrait, like the others, is presented next to a composition of his, which is adorned with red-blue initials and marginalia filled with angels and musical instruments.

This wonderful historiated initial consists of a gorgeous gold leaf frame with red and blue tendrils. In it, Landini plays a portative organ, a small pipe organ consisting of two rows of pipes that is strapped to the musician, operated by a small bellows and a set of keys. Such instruments were commonly used for performing secular music between the 12th and 16th centuries.

Squarcialupi Codex – Giunti Editore – Ms. Mediceo Palatino 87 – Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana (Florence, Italy)
Facsimile Editions

#1 Codice Squarcialupi

Giunti Editore – Florence, 1992

Publisher: Giunti Editore – Florence, 1992
Limited Edition: 998 copies
Binding: Brown binding in deluxe clamshell case in half leather
Commentary: 1 volume (287 pages) by Alberto F. Gallo, John NΓ‘das, Kurt von Fischer, Luciano Bellosi, Margherita Ferro Luraghi, Nino Pirrotta, Giuseppe Tavani, Giulio Cattin and Agostino Ziino
Languages: English, Italian
1 volume: Exact reproduction of the original document (extent, color and size) Deluxe 8-color reproduction (+ gold) in the original format 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€)
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