Dante Alighieri, Comedy

  • S. XV (1466, Cividale del Friuli); parchment; mm 256 × 185; ff. III, 206, II’; inhabited initial (p. 1)
  • Padua, City Library, C.M. 937

Nicolò Claricini senior, from Cividale, is the copyist of this Dante’s codex that witnesses the Emilia-Romagna branch of his Comedy.

The opening page is ornamented by a polychrome vegetal frieze with bright gilded discs that runs along the fours edges of the foil and shows, included in the ‘bas-de-page’, the blazon of Claricini, a noble family of Cividale who moved to Friuli from Bologna in the thirteenth century. The rich decoration is complete with the initial N of the first chant inhabited by the author’s portrait, beardless and in profile, caught while holding his poem in his hands and turning his glance to the heaven. The spaces for the other decorated initials are left blank, nor are present rubrics. The copyist’s hand is inferred by the subscription with the thanksgiving formula at the end of the transcription: «Complevi ego Nicolaus de Claricinis scribere hunc Dantem die prima februarii 1466. Sit laus Deo omnipotenti et gloriose virginis Marie et beati Donati et cetera». This is followed by the six epitaph verses for Dante’s tomb, attributable to Menghino Mezzani of Ravenna. Nicolò Claricini, beyond some cases of marginal records of a text variant, gave his contribution to the three parts of the poem with a good large set of Latin, interlinear and marginal, annotations that after a critical survey evidences «a tight dependence on the 1st redaction of the learned commentary by Pietro Alighieri», the poet’s son. The manuscript was property of the family Claricini, later Claricini Dornpacher di Bottenicco, until 1968 when thanks to a testament legacy it was handed over to the City Library o f Padua together with other books of a conspicuous Dante’s work collection.

f. 1, Opening page with the coats of arm of the family Claricini of Cividale in the bas-de-page

f. 1, Opening page with the coats of arm of the family Claricini of Cividale in the bas-de-page

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