De casibus virorum illustrium

Accession number: 
MS M.943
De casibus virorum illustrium
Italy (Lombardy, Milan or Pavia), ca. 1385-1390.
Original vellum-covered boards.
Purchased on the Fellows Fund, 1969.
117 leaves (1 column, 37-39 lines), bound : vellum, ill. ; 260 x 197 mm
Visconti family, Milan? (in the verse on the back pastedown: Magnificum factis generosum sanguine et ipsa/Natura est genus Anguigerum dominabile terris...; the genus anguigerum (snake-bearing family) has been interpreted to refer to the Visconti family of Milan); Hamill & Barker, Chicago, purchased from Hamill & Barker and Gift of the Fellows, 1969.

Ms. secular literature; written and illuminated in Italy, Lombardy, Milan or Pavia, ca. 1385-1390.
Collation: I², II¹⁰-XII¹⁰, XIII⁵.
Scribe: written in dark brown ink by one scribe.
Artist: probably Pietro da Pavia (a Boethius at Cesena, Biblioteca Malatestiana, MS D.XIV.1 has very similar decoration with identical oak leaf and acorn borders; Giuliana Algeri suggested an artist associated with Michelino da Besozzo or Pietro da Pavia; François Avril has agreed with Salmi's suggestion that it was a work of Michelino's youth; Kay Sutton firmly attributes it to Pietro. (See Dix siècles de enluminure italienne, 1984, p. 110; Giuliana Algeri, "Il De Consolatione Philosophiae della Biblioteca Malatestiana e la miniatura a Pavia alla fine del Trecento," in Libraria Domini: I manoscritti della Biblioteca Malatestiana: testi e decorazioni, Bologna, 1995, p. 323-37; Kay Sutton, "Giangaleazzo Visconti as Patron: A Prayerbook illuminated by Pietro da Pavia," Apollo CXXXVII (1993), p. 89-96)
Decoration: 1 full-page border with 2 historiated vignettes and droleries, 1 historiated initial (a teacher seated behind a desk on which are books, a candle and an hourglass) and 7 illuminated initials with vegetal and zoomorphic motifs, all with marginal vinescroll extenders, 2 marginal pen and ink drawings, one of a centaur-like creature.