Vergil, Bucolica, Georgica, Aeneis

  • 1456; parchment; mm 342 × 214; ff. 188
  • Wien, Österreichische Nationalbibliothek, Pal. lat. 39

Virgil’s codex drawn out for Girolamo Barbarigo, General Governor (‘luogotenente’) of ‘Patria del Friuli’, by Battista da Cingoli, a professional copyist at Guarnerio’s service.

«Virgil was for two millenniums the most read and admired poet: before the dimness of barbarity covered the last two or three generations» (Billanovich). An attention even greater, if possible, was paid to him by the humanists who set his work among the indispensable school readings, dedicated learned and scholarly commentaries to it, and transcribed it in codices, an original example of which is the manuscript copied for Girolamo Barbarigo in July 1456 by Battista da Cingoli in a Littera antiqua script inspired to Florentine models. The decoration typology is prevailingly the tied neck-knot close to the Guarneriano 26 decoration. Battista, who was the only professional copyist at Guarnerio d’Artegna’s service, copied for him as many as thirty-one codices, the majority of which are nowadays kept at the ‘Biblioteca Guarneriana’ of San Daniele del Friuli. The Vienna manuscript, the only codex drawn out for a patron distinct from Guarnerio, that is to say Barbarigo, the eminent Venetian patrician who in 1456 was in Friuli appointed as ‘luogotenente’ of the Patria, is characterized by its peculiar textual accuracy: it was indeed subject to an uninterrupted philological survey. The codex binding carried out in 1753 following to an ordinance by the prefect of the Imperial Library of Austria, Gerard Van Swieten (1700-1772), is a certain ante quem term for the codex entrance into that library.

f. 45r, incipit of the 1st book of the Aeneis with tied-neck-knot decorated initial

f. 45r, incipit of the 1st book of the Aeneis with tied-neck-knot decorated initial

f. 1r, incipit of the 1st book of Virgil’s Bucolica with tied neck-knot decoration

f. 1r, incipit of the 1st book of Virgil’s Bucolica with tied neck-knot decoration

ff. 187v-188r, Battista da Cingoli’s subscription

ff. 187v-188r, Battista da Cingoli’s subscription

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