Through the LIBRARY it is possible to consult the data sheet of several important codices that enable to reconstruct the written culture of the patriarchate of Aquileia. Moreover, for many codices, the complete reproductions are made available, which makes this site a true virtual library of patriarchal Friuli.

Gradual of the Chapter of Udine

  • 14th century, second half; parchment; mm 572 × 395; ff. II,157,II’.
  • Udine, Archivio Capitolare, 29.

The Gradual decoration is ascribed to a miniaturist participating in the Gothic-key renewal of the Friulian figurative culture that sprang thanks to Vitale da Bologna’s presence in Udine between 1348 and 1349.

The mutilated choir book contains the chants from Advent Sunday to the 2nd feria after the 3rd Sunday in Lent. It closes with the mass on St. Thomas’ feast and the chants for the holy water aspersion. It is the first volume of a Gradual currently kept at the Archives of the Chapter of Udine that also includes the codices marked as mss. 25 and 23 with the Proper of the Time and ms. 19, a Sanctorale. The illustrative set of this series of codices is characterized by the drawing neatness of the leafy decorations, by the initials in bright and vivid colours, among which orange, yellow, blue and bordeaux are particularly prominent, and by the background fields filled with thin white-leaded ramages. There is a large number of inhabited initials with scenes connected to the text content or with figures of saints and prophets, but the master’s originality is due to the reuse of an early medieval invention, the kaleidoscopic initial, which is here re-proposed with Gothic realism and easy liveliness. Monsters, animals, birds, human figures are joined to give the initial a shape. Their hybrid nature, their dressing manner and gestures, but also the use of dressing animals with clergy clothes give the images a funny tone. Even though precise attributions are lacking, nevertheless it is plausible that the illuminator participated in the key-gothic renewal of the Friulian figurative culture that sprang thanks to the presence in Udine of Vitale da Bologna, in 1348 and 1349, who worked with his workshop at St. Francis’ and in the city’s cathedral. These were the last years of Bertrand of Saint Geniès’ patriarchy: he came to Friuli from Toulouse in 1334, after a stay at Avignon, and was a key personality for the political, religious, economical and cultural turning point of this region.

Country of locationItaly
Library / CollectionArchivio Capitolare
Support materialParchment
Extentff. II,157,II’
Formatmm 572 × 395
Age14th century, second half
© - Istituto Pio Paschini
per la storia della Chiesa in Friuli
Via Treppo, 5/B - 33100 Udine
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