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Priuli & Verlucca – Facsimile Editions
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Monday, 11 March 2019   

[Aosta, Collégiale Saint-Pierre & Saint-Ours]
Messale di Giorgio di Challant, secolo XV - Aosta.
Scarmagno: Priuli & Verlucca Editori, 1993. 34 x 51 cm, 352, 147 pp.

Among the major works of late medieval figurative art in its possession, the ancient Collegiate Church of Sts. Peter and Orso in Aosta has a work of great historic value: the Missale Magnum Festivum Georgii Challandi, which was commissioned in the late 15th century by a descendant of the most powerful and illustrious feudal family in the Aosta Valley, Giorgio di Challant, the prior of the Aosta Collegiate Church from 1468 to 1509 and governor of the Duchy of Aosta. This is an illuminated missal comprises of 176 parchment folios. The illuminations are of high artistic quality, as is exemplified in the large plate of the Crucifixion that precedes the Canon, and those representing the Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Nativity, the feasts of St. Orso, St. Peter and Paul, St. John the Baptist, Easter, the Pentecost, Corpus Domini, the Assumption of the Virgin Mary, the Birth of the Virgin Mary and All Saints' Day. In these works the decorative and figurative elements, which often draw inspiration from nature, transcend merely stylistic decoration to become a necessary and expressive part of the entire iconographic layout and the text. Besides the many scenes represented—true masterpieces of a particular art form that differs considerably from the Italian schools of the time—the decorations in the margins with their warm, vivid colors and the large initial decorative letters, many of which are rendered in gold leaf, reveal the artist's uncommon ability in varying the arrangement of the decoration without lapsing into repetition. Commentary in It-Fr-Eng. Limited edition of 333 copies, bound in quarter brown calfskin with blind toolings and wooden boards with tie-strings; slipcase with wooden headboards and brown calfskin sides with blind toolings.  

[Ivrea, Biblioteca Capitolare]
Il codice di Warmondo.
Scarmagno: Priuli & Verlucca Editori, 1990. 22 x 33 cm, 444, 240 pp.

The Capitulary Library of Ivrea keeps a codex that dates from before the year 1000, the Sacramentarium Episcopi Warmundi, created for the Bishop of Ivrea, Warmondo, who engaged in diatribes with King Arduino that stirred the imagination of the people in that period around the year 1000. This codex is a parchment of 222 folios with various illuminations and colored or gilded initial decorative letters. The illuminations were executed by different artists but have some basic features in common: they are vivaciously drawn with a pen and then painted with watercolors. The illuminations and the decorated initial letters are surrounded by frames in which there are illustrative inscriptions. The historical importance of the figures is also considerable. The young emperor Otto III, defender of Warmondo, envisaged the restoration of Constantine's Holy Roman Empire, and it is no accident that the pope whom he selected (who was also the emperor's tutor) to replace Gregory V was named Sylvester II to underscore the continuity with Pope Sylvester I, who had baptised Constantine. And it was this pope who, during the Roman Synod of 999, confirmed the condemnation of King Arduino, Warmondo's rival. If this king is famous in history books and is sometimes considered the first king of Italy, Warmondo is a figure of equal stature who not only proved to be more than a worthy rival, but also turned the city of the bellicose Arduino into one of the most illustrious cultural centres in North Italy during that period. And one of the very rare surviving examples of this culture and art is the Sacramentarium Episcopi Warmundi. Commentary & transcription (It-Fr-Eng) by Luigi Bettazzi and Luigi Magnani. Deluxe edition of 1000 copies, bound in leather with blind toolings on the boards and spine; slipcase with wooden headboards and leather sides with blind toolings.  

[Modena, Bibl. Estense Univ., it. 474 (=alfa R.4.8)]
Dante Estense, cod. alpha.r.4.8. (Ital.474) / Biblioteca Estense di Modena, Commentario di Ernesto Milano.
Scarmagno: Priuli & Verlucca Editori, 2001. 25.5 x 35 cm, 280, 232 pp.

This beautiful parchment MS of Dante's Divine Comedy, known as the Dante Estense, has established itself throughout the world as one of the most important MSS of this great work. In fact, both because of the period in which it was produced (certainly the 14th century—most probably around 1380-90—which means it came out no more than 60-70 years after Dante's death, thus offering the sensation of being almost contemporaneous with his great poem) and because of the completeness of the entire text which makes it an extremely important integral document compared to the many fragments of the Divine Comedy, it is one of the few existing editions of this work offering philological novelties. Other interesting features of the codex are its aesthetic value, with the three exquisite illuminations that decorate the beginning of the three sections of the Divine Comedy, the large illuminated initial letters at the beginning of the poem, and the colored ones in all the Cantos, and above all, the fact that it is one of the very few existing codices that is completely illuminated. Each page has illuminated scenes in the upper margin that accompany and illustrate the text. The initial pages of the three Cantos have illuminated ornamentation in the margin; in particular, the first two have, in the middle of the lower margin, a large red stemma with a light blue band that belonged to an unknown owner, while the last page has the Christian monogram of the Sun. Because of its great importance, this codex was taken to Paris by Napoleon's commissars on 11 October 1796 and became part of the Bibliothèque Nationale de France (whose seal, a c.1, it still bears); after many interesting vicissitudes it was restored and brought back to Modena in 1816 by the head librarian of the Biblioteca Estense, Antonio Lombardi, at the behest of the Duke of Modena. Commentary by Ernesto Milano. Deluxe limited edition of 500 copies, bound in calfskin, with gilt toolings on the boards.  

[Montecassino, Archivio dell’Abbazia, casin, 132]
Rabanus Maurus. De universo. Casin, 132, secolo XI. Archivio dell’Abbazia dei Montecassino.
Scarmagno: Priuli & Verlucca Editori, 1996. 35 x 49 cm, 530, 216 pp

The archive of the Montecassino Abbey, the religious community founded by St. Benedict in the 6th century that was the hub of medieval monastic life, boasts the invaluable Rabanus Maurus Cassinese MS, which was produced at Montecassino during the time of Abbot Theobald (1022-35) and contains the great encyclopedic dictionary De Universo, or De rerum naturis, which Rabanus Maurus (780-865), a monk from Fulda who became Bishop of Mainz, wrote in the 9th century, at the zenith of the Carolingian epoch. This large-format codex consists of 530 pages in Beneventan script, splendidly illustrated with over 360 miniatures with lively figures and colors. The true importance of the codex goes beyond its artistic merit, since De Universo is one of the leading medieval encylopedias and the first one compiled after two centuries of silence, that is, after St. Isidore of Seville's Etymologies. And although Rabanus drew inspiration from this latter work, De Universo surpasses it for the grandiosity of its concepts and its noble aim of spreading knowledge. The work is like an immense library of knowledge that covers the entire Middle Ages, a combination and cross-section of various aspects: the historical and biblical tradition of the Church, books and culture, the animal and plant worlds, descriptions of human life, the nature of the soul and body, monsters and miracles, celestial phenomena and the calculation of time, weights and measures, minerals and metals, the organisation of states, music, medicine, agriculture, the science of war, manual labour, diet, everyday tools and objects. There is no facet of the Middle Ages that is not discussed in this encyclopedia, which mirrors the entire civilisation of the time. Furthermore, the miniatures, which illustrate every subject in marvellous scenes, faithfully follow the style and aim of the text, making the codex a grand fresco of the universal order. Commentary (It-Eng), edited by Guglielmo Cavallo. Limited edition of 500 copies. bound in quarter brown calfskin, with wooden boards and tie-strings. €8450   

[Rome, Bibl. Casanatense, ms. 724/3]
Exultet. Rotolo MS 724/3, secolo XII. Biblioteca Casanatense, Rome.
Scarmagno: Priuli & Verlucca Editori, 1994. 23 x 685 cm, scroll in 10 sections.

"Exultet" is the first word in the praeconium paschale (annunciation of Easter), the liturgical song sung on Easter Saturday by the deacon, who announces to the community of priests and the lay worshippers the Mystery of Redemption, while at the same time carrying out the ritual of lighting and offering the paschal candle. Read from the tall ambo, the scroll was considered the most suitable means of helping the faithful to understand better the meaning of the liturgy. In most of these scrolls the illuminations were placed upside down with respect to the text from which the deacon read, thus as he unfolded the scroll and let it fall from the ambo, the scenes could be easily seen by the worshippers rightside up. Among the scrolls that have survived the ravages of time, the Exultet in the Casanatense Library in Rome, produced at Benevento or Montecassino in the 9th century, is one of the most extraordinary in terms of visual impact thanks to the grandiosity of the iconographic cycle, the refinement of the draughtmanship and the elegance of the color schemes. The scroll, written in lower-case Beneventan script, is illustrated with scenes—to mention only a few—from the Old and New Testament (The Parting of the Red Sea, the Crucifixion), celestial and terrestrial allegories (Turba Angelica, the Earth), and the liturgy itself (The Lighting and Consecration of the Candle, the Deacon's Prayer). The facsimile edition, printed with 9 colors on specially manufactured parchment-like paper, and reproducing all the original flaws and fraying, reassembles the 10 sections of the Exultet into one roll as it was originally intended. Commentary in It-Eng by Beat Brenk and Guglielmo Cavallo. Limited edition of 500 copies, with slipcase. €1790   

Besler, Basilius.
Hortus Eystettensis.
Scarmagno: Priuli & Verlucca Editori, 2007. 43.5 x 52 cm. 4 vols, 367 pp; 286 pp.

Deluxe facsimile of the Eichstatt, 1613 edition. Basilius Besler (1561-1629), a Nuremberg apothecary, was in charge of the gardens of Prince Bishop of Eichstatt. They were probably the first comprehensive botanical gardens devoted to flowering plants, many of which were imported from the Americas and the Ottoman Empire. Besler began work on a simple herbal devoted to plants of medicinal value, however with the patronage of Prince Bishop he was able to expand his work into a massive herbal—the Hortus Eytettensis (The Garden of Eichstatt). In this first large-folio natural history botanical, taking 16 years to complete, Besler documents the vast garden at Eichstatt, depicting each plant as it bloomed throughout the seasons. Over 1,000 varieties of flowers are depicted in 367 beautifully engraved and colored plates. The principal engraver was Wolfgang Kilian (1581-1662), but as many as 10 other artists may also have been involved. The Hortus Eystettensis is the first botanical in history to portray flowering plants as objects of beauty. Experts point out its special seminal importance, both deviating from the non-esthetic and awkward representations of preceding publications which focused on herbal subjects and setting the standard for all great flower books of the following centuries. Commentary by A. Menghini, D. Contin, K. Littger, W. Dressendorfer, & W.D. Müller Jahncke. Limited edition of 1500 numbered copies bound in full leather. €9600    (more info... )

Durante, Castore.
Herbario nuovo di Castore Durante.
Scarmagno: Priuli & Verlucca Editori, 2000. 23 x 33 cm, 640 pp.

The Herbario Nuovo or New Herbal by Castore Durante attracts enthusiasts and specialists alike for its botanical and medical-pharmacological content, as well as for its intrinsic historic-literary importance. This book was first published in 1585 and from that time until 1718 it was reprinted eight times. The distinguishing feature of the 1717 edition—the basis of this facsimile edition—is that it was not listed in the botanical bibliographies of the time, perhaps because only a few copies were printed, and is therefore a rarity in Italian and European libraries. It includes all the corrections and addenda made in the previous editions, an up-dating procedure that resulted from the inclusion of descriptions of exotic species that were used as pharmacological and nutritional products only after 1585. The work contains more than 900 species presented in alphabetical order according to their common name, which is followed by their scientific names in Greek and Latin, as well as some of their common names in Arabic, French, Spanish and German. Although they adhere to 16th-century criteria, the morphological descriptions tend to provide all the information needed to identify the species. But it is the illustrations that accompany and complete each individual entry which fascinate readers, as they are both essential and thorough: this is a book whose llustrations were chosen by the author not as mere "decoration", but above all as active – and still valid – complements to the description of the various species. And the fact that they are woodcuts lends the patina of age to the volume. The Herbario Nuovo is organized much like a handbook: it is easy to find the individual entries and the information regarding the properties and uses of each plant and the descriptions are written fluently. Introduction by Giuliana Forneris, Annalaura Pistarino, Pierangelo Lomagno, and Paola Lanzara. Deluxe bibliophile edition of 1299 copies, bound in calfskin, with raised bands and gilding on the spine and a handmade slipcase.  

Fuchs, Leonhart.
De historia stirpium di Leonhart Fuchs, 1542.
Scarmagno: Priuli & Verlucca Editori, 2003. 28.5 x 35 cm. 898 pp.

Facsimile, co-produced with the Aboca Museum, of the Michael Isingrin edition, Basel, 1542. Includes 517 xylographic illustrations, 343 species (stirpi), accompanied by 125 glossary terms and analytical indices in Greek, Latin, German. Limited bibliophile edition, bound in leather with blind stamping. €480   

[maps, De Jode]
Carta dell’Europa di Gerard e Cornelio de Jode 1593.
Scarmagno: Priuli & Verlucca Editori, c.2004. 330 x 440 mm.

Limited edition of 999 copies. €290   

[maps, Mercator]
Carta tolemaica dell’Italia di Gerardo Mercatore 1578.
Scarmagno: Priuli & Verlucca Editori, 2004.

Limited edition of 1999 copies. €290