Titus Livius, Historiarum decas prima, vernacular Italian translation

  • S. XV (1459-60 c.); parchment; mm 288 × 193; ff. I, 199; ill. (9 ornamented initials)
  • Udine, Archbishopric Seminary, ‘P. Bertolla’ Library, Fund Cernazai 421

The manuscript, which shows refined decorations in an antiquarian style, has been attributed to the calligraphic and figurative art of Bartolomeo Sanvito of Padua (1435-1511) who had among his clients, beyond the Gonzaga, also Marcantonio Morosini of Venice and the patriarch of Aquileia Ludovico Trevisan.

The fourteenth-century Livy’s first decade translation into Italian vernacular drawn up in 1323, at Andria (Apulia), by the notary Filippo di Santa Croce, not directly from the Latin original, but from a nowadays lost French translation, was quickly widespread in Tuscany and Veneto. Thanks to the studies of the English scholar of Humanistic culture and Renaissance, Albinia de la Mare (1932-2001), the manuscript has been attributed to the calligraphic and figurative art of Bartolomeo Sanvito of Padua (1435-1511), the greatest promoter, together with Felice Feliciano from Verona, of the ‘libro all’antica’ (old-fashioned book) featuring a peculiar recovery of refined decorations in an antiquarian style. This codex of Udine also shows the skilfully played alternation of differently coloured script lines and, at the opening of each book of the decade, the presence of coloured epigraphic capital initials with a strong chiaroscuro rendering and a decoration of vegetal interlaces. The codex got into the Seminary Library of Udine through the legacy of Francesco Maria Cernazai from Udine (1802-1881), owner of a rich collection gathered by inheritance from his father Giuseppe Carlo and his brother Pietro, both bibliophiles.

f. 1r of the codex 421

f. 1r of the codex 421

ff. 79v-80r of the codex 421

ff. 79v-80r of the codex 421

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