Martyrology, Rule of St. Benedict

Accession number: 
MS M.829
Martyrology, Rule of St. Benedict
Bologna, Italy, ca. 1378 and ca. 1420.
Original red sheep over boards, blind tooled, 2 clasps missing, bosses missing from upper and lower cover, metal studs all along edges of covers.
119 leaves (1 column, 28 lines), bound : vellum, ill. ; 255 x 185 mm
Thought to have been executed for a women's convent (Cistercian?) dedicated to St. Bartholomew (St. Bartholomew presents a kneeling nun to the Virgin in the medallion on fol. 1; St. Benedict shelters a group of kneeling nuns in the miniature on fol. 88); signed B P with the date 1575 at the upper margin of folio 119; Martin Breslauer, London (Catalogue 66, One Hundred Books and Manuscripts, 1948, p. 38 no. 92, pls. X, XI); purchased from Breslauer in November, 1948.

Ms. Martyrology and rule of St. Benedict; written and illuminated in Bologna, Italy, ca. 1370 and ca. 1420.
Texts: 1) Martyrology (fol. 3v-79v); 2) calendar for Dauphiné, vicinity of Lyons-Vienne (fol. 80-85v); fol. 86-87v blank; 3) Rule of St. Benedict (fol. 88-118).
Decoration: 1 miniature (St. Benedict in Madonna di Misericordia pose, sheltering kneeling nuns with his cape), 2 two historiated initials (God the Father seated, blessing, holding open book, St. Jerome removing thorn from lion's paw), a historiated bas-de-page medallion (St. Bartholomew presenting a kneeling nun to the enthroned Virgin and Child), marginal vinescroll on two folios. A a large siglum, perhaps an identifier for a religious institution, is drawn in outline in brown ink on the front flyleaf recto, consisting of a square laid on a circle, within which is inscribed a cross intersected at its base with two horizontal bars.
Artist: Executed by two Bolognese artists from different periods: folio 1 decoration by Niccolò di Giacomo da Bologna, folio 88 decoration by the Maestro del Messale Orsini.
Dated with reference to Niccolò da Bologna's illumination for M.829: the compositions and the style in which they are executed are comparable to the illustration this artist provided for a Register of the Shoemakers' Guild for 1378, the first leaf of which is owned by the Museo Civico d'Arte Antica in Turin, (Inv. no. 923).
Scribe: written by various scribes, one of whom signed Frater Laçarinus in the colophon on fol. 79v: Deo gratias fr[ater] Laçarin[us].