The Rules of Chivalry. Statutes of the Ordre du Nœud

The Rules of Chivalry. Statutes of the Ordre du Nœud

France — 1352–1354

Dubbing ceremonies, acts of fealty, and brave deeds: a gorgeously illuminated glimpse into the chivalric orders of the Late Middle Ages

  1. King Louis I of Naples (1320-62), created the Ordre du Nœud or “Order of the Knot” in 1352

  2. The rules and rituals of the order are specified in a splendidy illuminated Gothic manuscript

  3. 17 colorful miniatures with gold leaf and floral tendril borders adorn the order's statutes

The Rules of Chivalry. Statutes of the Ordre du Nœud

  1. Description
  2. Facsimile Editions (1)
Description
The Rules of Chivalry. Statutes of the Ordre du Nœud

Founded in 1532 on Pentecost, the Ordre du Nœud or “Order of the Knot” was a chivalric order established by King Louis I of Naples (1320-62) to commemorate his royal coronation. Gorgeously colored and adorned with gold leaf, 17 miniatures illustrate the manuscript containing the order rules with images of important ceremonies and acts of bravery. The Statutes of the Ordre du Nœud is a wonderful Gothic manuscript that was later owned by King Henry III of France (1551-89).

The Rules of Chivalry. Statutes of the Ordre du Nœud

Chivalric orders were all the rage in the Late Middle Ages and various dynasties created their own orders, some of which still exist today like the Order of the Garter, founded in 1348 by King Edward III of England (1312-77). Doubtless inspired by this and other chivalric orders, King Louis I of Naples (1320-62), created the Ordre du Nœud or “Order of the Knot” in 1352. Although the order itself was not long lived, the manuscript containing the Statutes of the Ordre du Nœud has endured as a masterfully illuminated witness to the rituals and heroic deeds associated with any knightly order. 17 colorful miniatures with gold leaf reminiscent of Giotto (ca. 1267-1337), including a full-page Crucifixion scene, adorn the text along with gorgeous floral tendril borders filled with vases, animals, and birds.

A Neapolitan Chivalric Order

On Pentecost in the year 1352, Louis of Taranto was crowned King Louis I of Naples alongside his wife, Queen Joanna I (1325-82). To mark the occasion, he founded a chivalrous order – the Ordre du Nœud. Founding a chivalric order served to legitimize the King as a Christian ruler and defender of the Church, provide a core of 300 elite knights for his armies, and create a trusted group of advisors. The members of the order were chosen and dubbed solely by the King, who also served at the Order Master, and wore white habits to symbolize the faith and honor of the knights, who were also expected to fast on Fridays. A knot of purple and gold-red silk threads, which was fastened to the knight's chest or arm after the oath of allegiance, was their only decoration.

Images of Chivalry

According to the Statutes, certain acts of bravery could allow a knight to untie their knot. The untied knot was taken by the knight as a pilgrim to Jerusalem and placed at the Holy Sepulcher with the inscription of his name in a prominent place. Only then could the knot be tied again, with a tongue of fire on it, crowned with the knight's name under the new motto: a pleut à Dieu or “God has willed it”. However, this custom and other chivalric traditions were never fully realized because the order did not last long after the death of its founder in 1362. The Statutes of the Ordre du Nœud has nonetheless survived as a beautifully illuminated testimonial to chivalric orders in the Late Middle Ages. Scenes depicting various rituals and ceremonies offer a precious glimpse the inner workings of this order, which may be why the manuscript was once owned by King Henry III of France (1551-89).

Echoes of Giotto

Cristoforo Orimina was a 14th century Italian illuminator active at the royal court of Naples and was descended from a patrician Neapolitan family. Regarded as one of the great masters of the Trecento, the miniatures Orimina created for this manuscript are strongly reminiscent of the great Giotto. Furthermore, Orimina reinterprets Giotto according to the stylistic features of Pietro Cavallini (1259 – 1330), giving shape to a sumptuous and elegant visual language. From the plasticity of the figures to the spatiality of the scenes containing them, this is a unique and intact specimen that is exemplary of the art of medieval miniature.

Codicology

Alternative Titles
Le Regole della Cavalleria. Statuti dell'Ordine del Santo Spirito dal Giusto Desiderio
Ordre du S.-Esprit au Droit-Désir
Die Regeln der Ritterlichkeit. Statuten des Ordre du Nœud
Size / Format
11 folios / 35.6 × 25.8 cm
Origin
France
Date
1352–1354
Style
Language
Illustrations
17 miniatures including one full-page, decorative borders
Content
Rules of the Ordre du Noeud (or Order of Saint Esprit au Droit Désir), founded by Louis of Taranto, lord of Taranto, in 1352
Artist / School
Previous Owners
Henry III of France
Royal Library
François Roger de Gaignières

Available facsimile editions:
Le Regole della Cavalleria. Statuti dell'Ordine del Santo Spirito dal Giusto Desiderio
Istituto dell'Enciclopedia Italiana - Treccani – Rome, 2019
Limited Edition: 299 copies
Facsimile Editions

#1 Le Regole della Cavalleria. Statuti dell'Ordine del Santo Spirito dal Giusto Desiderio

Limited Edition: 299 copies
Commentary: 1 volume by Alessandro Barbero, Marco Cursi, Giovanni Palumbo, and Alessandra Perriccioli Saggese
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.
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