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Abstract

In conjunction with the plan of Tiberio Alfarano (1590), the designs in the codex Arch. Cap. S. Pietro A. 64ter are the most important source for drawings of the ancient Vatican basilica. This large-format Album is associated with the cleric Giacomo Grimaldi (1568-1623), who placed autograph notes on the folia of the two main series of drawings. Previously known as libri picturarum, the two collections were achieved by Domenico Tasselli da Lugo (1578-1630) and other professional illustrators a short time before the Constantinian basilica was demolished. Starting from the reconstruction of the dramatic historical circumstances for a documentary enterprise that was without precedent, this study examines the Album’s images in an innovative way, making use of the opportunities presented by the digitalization of the manuscript. By means of the reconstruction of the ancient foliation of the paper together with an evaluation of an earlier parchment illustration that in 1592 documented the apse mosaic of St. Peter’s before its destruction, this contribution sheds new light on the structure of the “watercolor book” by Domenico Tasselli (1606), on the original nature of the second set of drawings (1609), and on the important role that Giacomo Grimaldi played in a documentary project “in pictura et scriptura” that was quite modern in its form.

In: The Vatican Library Review

In the summer of 2021, the Vatican Apostolic Library signed an agreement with Brill Publishers for the production of The Vatican Library Review ( VLR ), a new enterprise initiated under my auspices. Brill contributes its well-established expertise in publishing and global distribution both digitally and in print. The Vatican Library remains responsible for the journal’s content in accordance with its distinguished tradition. Through this collaboration, the Library launches its first academic journal in support of its mission to accommodate and promote scientific research of the highest quality.

The Vatican Library has always been a place of research

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In: The Vatican Library Review
Free access
In: The Vatican Library Review
Author: François Avril

Abstract

Ignored until now by scholarship, the manuscript Cappon. 227 of the Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana contains a remarkable cycle of images depicting the first episodes of the romance of Tristan. While this would be noteworthy on its own, this cycle also provides important evidence for the techniques and style of Gothic painting in northern France at the beginning of the fourteenth century. This study presents the first art historical analysis of these images, summarizing their content, highlighting their distinctive and unique features, and examining their composition. The article notes that the images in this Vatican manuscript are the only known examples of a “pictorial guide” of a profane subject in a manuscript that correspond to the type of cycles that grew in increasing popularity in fourteenth-century France as decoration for royal and noble houses.

In: The Vatican Library Review

Abstract

The recent digital cataloguing of the “fondo Capponi” has brought to light an important manuscript, Cappon. 227, that has been unstudied until now. This manuscript emerges as an unicum in a collection marked especially by its taste for antiquity, epigraphy and collections of drawings. The parchment codex in fact mostly consists of a corpus of remarkable illustrations. According to the recent iconographic study by François Avril, the narrative scheme, clearly of a Gothic-like transalpine taste, is related to the chivalric novel of Tristan. The book entered the collection of Marquis Alessandro Gregorio Capponi by means of the cleric Feliciano Bussi, as evidenced by some Epistles that the he addresses to the Marquis. The purchase of a codex with almost no text, but with very rich illustrations, denotes an evident interest on the part of Capponi for such illuminations. The choice of this pioneering enterprise, combined with other evidence, e.g., that of the contemporary Vittorio Giovardi, testifies to the existence of a market already specifically devoted to illuminated manuscripts by the first half of the 18th century.

In: The Vatican Library Review

Abstract

This article presents an artistic analysis of BAV, Arch. Cap. S. Pietro. D. 184, containing pseudo-John Chrysostom’s Opus Imperfectum in Matthaeum. The manuscript contains a single portrait illustration on f. 1r, featuring St. John Chrysostom, author of homilies for Saint Mathew’s gospel, leaning on his desk writing his notes. This study, based solely on a philological approach, argues that this codex was illuminated by a Catalan miniaturist in the second quarter of the fifteenth century, as is clear from a comparison with other manuscripts illuminated in the Principality of Catalonia around the same time.

In: The Vatican Library Review

Abstract

The Booklet of Kabbalistic Forms—a name we have given to this anonymous and untitled treatise—is a unique work in the kabbalistic library. The Italian kabbalist responsible for its first iteration assigned great value to the images he found in the kabbalistic works circulating in his environment. The most striking aspect of the Booklet is the diverse range of schematic images that have been gathered together, all representations of the divine world culled from the repertoire of ca. 1500 Italian Jewish Kabbalah. Rather than seeking to establish a “correct” visual representation of the sefirotic Divine, the “forms” collected in the Booklet were treated as images that bore meanings pertinent to all manner of kabbalistic mysteries. The present article introduces this singular work, followed by a critical edition and an English translation.

In: The Vatican Library Review
In: Amulets and Talismans of the Middle East and North Africa in Context
In: Amulets and Talismans of the Middle East and North Africa in Context
In: Amulets and Talismans of the Middle East and North Africa in Context