Commissioned by the Marquis of Mantua: Petrus Candidus' lexical masterpiece on the natural history of animals with almost 500 realistic animal depictions

The Animal Book of Pier Candido

Italy — Written ca. 1460; Illuminated ca. 1550

The Animal Book of Pier Candido

The Animal Book of Pier Candido

Italy — Written ca. 1460; Illuminated ca. 1550

  1. The Latin text by the Humanist Pier Candido (ca. 1399–1477) describes natural history and the lives of animals

  2. Ca. 1550 a total of 496 colored, realistic animal pictures, some of which are decorated with gold and silver elements, were added to the text

  3. Ludovico Gonzaga (1412–78), Marquis of Mantua and animal lover, commissioned the lexicon

Tierbuch des Petrus Candidus (Leather edition)

Book of Simple Medicines

Frogs

Frogs are an important part of the ecosystem and possess cultural importance across the world. In folklore, frogs are used as metaphors for those possessing hidden talents in spite of their appearance. Medieval theologians distinguished between land and water frogs, regarding the former as righteous while the latter were sinful. A variety of frogs are presented here in artful and natural detail alongside a succulent grasshopper, a fine feast for a frog.

The Animal Book of Pier Candido

Alternative Titles:
  • Tierbuch des Petrus Candidus
  • De omnium animalium natura
  • De animantium naturis
  • Bestiary of Petrus Candidus: Book of Animals
The Animal Book of Pier Candido – Urb. lat. 276 – Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana (Vatican City, State of the Vatican City)
The Animal Book of Pier Candido – Urb. lat. 276 – Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana (Vatican City, State of the Vatican City)
The Animal Book of Pier Candido – Urb. lat. 276 – Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana (Vatican City, State of the Vatican City)
The Animal Book of Pier Candido – Urb. lat. 276 – Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana (Vatican City, State of the Vatican City)
The Animal Book of Pier Candido – Urb. lat. 276 – Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana (Vatican City, State of the Vatican City)
The Animal Book of Pier Candido – Urb. lat. 276 – Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana (Vatican City, State of the Vatican City)
The Animal Book of Pier Candido – Urb. lat. 276 – Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana (Vatican City, State of the Vatican City)
The Animal Book of Pier Candido – Urb. lat. 276 – Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana (Vatican City, State of the Vatican City)
The Animal Book of Pier Candido – Urb. lat. 276 – Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana (Vatican City, State of the Vatican City)
The Animal Book of Pier Candido – Urb. lat. 276 – Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana (Vatican City, State of the Vatican City)
The Animal Book of Pier Candido – Urb. lat. 276 – Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana (Vatican City, State of the Vatican City)
The Animal Book of Pier Candido – Urb. lat. 276 – Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana (Vatican City, State of the Vatican City)
The Animal Book of Pier Candido – Urb. lat. 276 – Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana (Vatican City, State of the Vatican City)
The Animal Book of Pier Candido – Urb. lat. 276 – Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana (Vatican City, State of the Vatican City)
The Animal Book of Pier Candido – Urb. lat. 276 – Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana (Vatican City, State of the Vatican City)
The Animal Book of Pier Candido – Urb. lat. 276 – Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana (Vatican City, State of the Vatican City)
The Animal Book of Pier Candido – Urb. lat. 276 – Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana (Vatican City, State of the Vatican City)
The Animal Book of Pier Candido – Urb. lat. 276 – Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana (Vatican City, State of the Vatican City)
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  1. Short Description
  2. Codicology

Short Description

The The Animal Book of Pier Candido arose in Italy ca. 1460. It describes natural history and the life of animals in the Renaissance. The Latin text was appended ca. 1550 with a total of 496 colored images of animals, some of which are adorned with gold and silver elements.

The Animal Book of Pier Candido

There is a highly valuable collection of zoological manuscripts in the Apostolic Library of the Vatican. Descriptions and depictions of animals of all kinds, as they were seen in nature by the respective book masters, are found in these books. Our modern biological knowledge naturally did not yet play any role at that time. One of the most famous works of this kind is The Animal Book of Pier Candido. It is an astounding encyclopedia, which was able to combine contemporary natural studies with medieval myths and legends. The work was created ca. 1460 and was endowed with a total of 496 colored and gold-adorned illustrations around 100 years later.

Pier Candido the Humanist

The Italian Pier Candido Decembrio, called Petrus Candidus in Latin, was born ca. 1399 and died in 1477 in Milan. He was one of the most famous humanists of his time and was an influential politician in Italy. He worked for a long time at the court of the Milanese Duke Filippo Maria Visconti, for whom he wrote a biography. Candido produced numerous writings and translations. On his tombstone, a total of 127 titles for which he was responsible are recorded. Probably his most famous work is the “bestiary” his Animal Book.

The Animal Life of the Renaissance

Ludovico Gonzaga, Marquis of Mantua, commissioned the lexicon. The Marquis was famous as a great lover of animals. Candido composed a work that contained all of the natural scientific information which was known in 1460. He allowed for the influence of mythological stories and in doing so created an informative and exciting book, which was illuminated with colorful images ca. 1550. The miniatures show realistic animal figures in eight different colors. Many of the miniatures were additionally embellished with decorative elements of gold and silver. The book margins were set in 23 carat gold. The natural history of the Renaissance was bound here in one of the Vatican’s most splendid codices.

Codicology

Alternative Titles
Tierbuch des Petrus Candidus
De omnium animalium natura
De animantium naturis
Bestiary of Petrus Candidus: Book of Animals
Size / Format
472 pages / 27.0 x 20.0 cm
Origin
Italy
Date
Written ca. 1460; Illuminated ca. 1550
Language
Illustrations
469 animal illustrations
Artist / School
Tierbuch des Petrus Candidus (Leather edition)

The Animal Book of Pier Candido

On Horses

The horse was an animal of tremendous importance for both war and peace during the Middle Ages, especially for a great nobleman like the Milanese Duke Filippo Maria Visconti, who commissioned this work. This bas-de-page miniature is a fine specimen of Italian Renaissance art and displays the skill of the great master Pietro Candido.

On a bright field of gold, we see ten horses running, bucking, and playing with one another. Each is colored individually – some are solid shades of brown or gray, others are mottled, all have flowing manes and tails as well as friendly facial expressions. They are presented in a very naturalistic manner with close attention paid to producing realistic proportions, musculature, shading, and shadows.

2 available facsimile edition(s) of „The Animal Book of Pier Candido“

Tierbuch des Petrus Candidus (Leather edition)
The Animal Book of Pier Candido – Urb. lat. 276 – Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana (Vatican City, State of the Vatican City)
The Animal Book of Pier Candido – Urb. lat. 276 – Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana (Vatican City, State of the Vatican City)
The Animal Book of Pier Candido – Urb. lat. 276 – Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana (Vatican City, State of the Vatican City)
The Animal Book of Pier Candido – Urb. lat. 276 – Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana (Vatican City, State of the Vatican City)
The Animal Book of Pier Candido – Urb. lat. 276 – Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana (Vatican City, State of the Vatican City)
The Animal Book of Pier Candido – Urb. lat. 276 – Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana (Vatican City, State of the Vatican City)
The Animal Book of Pier Candido – Urb. lat. 276 – Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana (Vatican City, State of the Vatican City)
The Animal Book of Pier Candido – Urb. lat. 276 – Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana (Vatican City, State of the Vatican City)
The Animal Book of Pier Candido – Urb. lat. 276 – Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana (Vatican City, State of the Vatican City)
The Animal Book of Pier Candido – Urb. lat. 276 – Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana (Vatican City, State of the Vatican City)
The Animal Book of Pier Candido – Urb. lat. 276 – Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana (Vatican City, State of the Vatican City)
The Animal Book of Pier Candido – Urb. lat. 276 – Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana (Vatican City, State of the Vatican City)
The Animal Book of Pier Candido – Urb. lat. 276 – Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana (Vatican City, State of the Vatican City)
The Animal Book of Pier Candido – Urb. lat. 276 – Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana (Vatican City, State of the Vatican City)
The Animal Book of Pier Candido – Urb. lat. 276 – Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana (Vatican City, State of the Vatican City)
The Animal Book of Pier Candido – Urb. lat. 276 – Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana (Vatican City, State of the Vatican City)
The Animal Book of Pier Candido – Urb. lat. 276 – Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana (Vatican City, State of the Vatican City)
The Animal Book of Pier Candido – Urb. lat. 276 – Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana (Vatican City, State of the Vatican City)
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Tierbuch des Petrus Candidus (Leather edition)

1 volume: Exact reproduction of the original document (extent, color and size)
Publisher
Belser Verlag – Zurich, 1984
Limited Edition
2400 copies
Binding
Red leather
Commentary
1 volume (216 pages) by Cynthia M. Pyle
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.
Price Category: €€ (1,000€ - 3,000€)
Edition available
Price: Login here!
Tierbuch des Petrus Candidus (Linen edition)
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Tierbuch des Petrus Candidus (Linen edition)

1 volume: Exact reproduction of the original document (extent, color and size)
Publisher
Belser Verlag – Zurich, 1984
Limited Edition
-
Binding
Green linen
Commentary
1 volume (216 pages) by Cynthia M. Pyle
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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