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De Civitate Dei
Illuminated manuscript on vellum, decorated in the style of Francesco d'Antonio del Chierico. Italy, Florence: ca. 1460. 220 x 158 mm., 347 leaves, on vellum. Collation: I-II8, III-XXXIV10, XXXV8, XXXVI4-1. Foliated as 1-343 (omitting fols. 34bis, 114bis, 145bis, & 238bis). Justification 159 x 95 mm., ruling invisible, 2 columns of 42 lines, written in dark brown ink, rubrics in red, in a small, rounded Italian book hand. Running titles in alternately red and blue letters, all catchwords present. Decorated initials throughout, 3 lines high and often more to a page in red and blue with decorative pen-flourishes extending into the margins, 22 large (6 lines high) illuminated initials, painted on burnished gold panel grounds infield with gold and colors with fine tracery in white and yellow and with scrolling colored "leafy" marginal extensions with clusters of gold bezants within pen-flourishes; one large (7 lines high, 25 x 28 mm.) historiated initial and two-sided border (fol. 17r) enclosing the head and shoulders of St. Augustine. Lower margin of the opening leaf of De Civitate (fol. 17r; perhaps formerly holding a coat-of-arms) cut away and replaced by blank vellum. Some early reader's marks (Notabilia) in a humanistic hand, slight damp-stains in upper margins at end, some pages a bit rubbed, but generally in fine condition. Binding: ca. 1700, Italian, brown-red morocco, triple fillets tooled in blind to a double frame, in the four corners & in the centre flower motives. Cover slightly rubbed, flyleaves renewed. PROVENANCE:1. Florence, ca. 1460, however, the coat of arms of the original patron is lost.2. Lucca, Biblioteca Minutoli Tegrini (dissolved in 1871). Its stamp "Di casa Minutoli Tegrimi" erased but earlier deciphered and identified by comparison with Alexander & De la Mare 1969, pl. XXII and p. 53; a list of other Minutoli-Tegrimi manuscripts in England on p. 55, no. 2. The collection of Conte Eugenio Minutoli-Tegrimi of Lucca was sold in 1871.3. London, School of Jewish Studies (Sotheby's, June 20, 1995, lot 71).4. European private collection.TEXTA complete manuscript copy of De Civitate Dei, the most important work written by Saint Augustine (354-430), one of the four great Fathers of the Latin Church.Fols. 1-15r: List of chapter headings per bookFol. 15rb-va: Interea cum Roma Gothorum irruptioneFol. 16r-v: blankFol. 17: Incipit liber primus: Gloriosissimam Civitatem Dei … Book II (fol. 30v), III (fol. 41), IV (fol. 54), V (fol. 66), VI (fol. 80), VII (fol. 88v), VIII (fol. 101v), IX (fol. 114v), X (fol. 122), XI (fol. 138v), XII (fol. 150v), XIII (fol. 162v), XIV (fol. 173), XV (fol. 187v), XVI (fol. 204v), XVII (fol. 224v), XVIII (fol. 239), XIX (fol. 263v), XX (fol. 279v), XXI (fol. 301v), XXII (fol. 319v).Fol. 342v: Explicit liber XXII beati Augustini episcopi De Civitate Dei Saint Augustine (354-430), designed this text as a great apologetic treatise in vindication of Christianity and the Christian Church. The City of God was written between 413 and 426 and represents the first Christian philosophy of history. "The impulse to the writing of the 22 books of the 'City of God', which was spread over several years, arose out of the fall of Rome to Alaric in 410. The event had caused consternation throughout the civilized world, and Augustine, who himself was profoundly moved, conceived the book as a reply to pagans who maintained that the fall of the city was due to the abolition of the heathen worship. It led him to deal with the fundamental contrast between Christianity and the world, and has made it the supreme exposition of a Christian philosophy of history."-Cross, F.L., The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church, p. 107. "The first five books deal with the polytheism of Rome, the second five with Greek philosophy, particularly Platonism and Neo-Platonism (which are seen as leading inevitably to Christianity in which their problems are finally resolved), and the last twelve books with the history of time and eternity as set out in the Bible. History is conceived as the struggle between two communities - the Civitas coelestis of those inspired by the love of God, leading to contempt of self, and the Civitas terrena or diaboli of those living according to man, which may lead to contempt of God. This struggle of the two conceptions of life had dominated Augustine's personal life and is here transferred to the wider field of world history. Both these powers fighting for the allegiance of the human soul are inextricably intermingled in society's earthly institutions; but history is understood as a continuous evolution of the divine purpose and all forces work towards redemption of man by God's grace, the central feature of St Augustine's theology. It is for this reason that he is considered as the founder of a new science, to which Voltaire assigned the name 'philosophy of history'. For the first time a comprehensive survey of human history is presented… "In economics Augustine praised labour as a means towards moral perfection; interest charges on money were not allowed under his system, but trade could be carried on, if selling was done honestly and a 'just price' was charged and paid. Many of the medieval regulations about commerce and prices were derived from these ideas, and his contrasting description of a just ruler (imbued with piety, humility, fairness) and the tyrant or Antichrist (impiety, craving for glory) powerfully influenced Renaissance thought… "'The City of God' pervaded the whole Middle Ages…The book remained authoritative until the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries…The idea of international law was partly derived from the book."-Printing & the Mind of Man 3-(1st printed edition: Subiaco, 1467).ILLUMINATION:22 large illuminated initials, painted on burnished gold panel grounds infield with gold and colours with fine tracery in white and yellow and with scrolling coloured "leafy" marginal extensions with clusters of gold bezants within pen-flourishes. On fol. 17r one large historiated initial and two-sided border enclosing the head and shoulders of the author of the text, St. Augustine dressed as bishop with mitre and crozier on a gold panel with foliate and floral border along the inner and upper margins with gold bezants and brown penwork. The painted decoration throughout the book, including the historiated initial and border decoration on the opening page (fol. 17) is in the style of Francesco d'Antonio del Chierico, who ran a workshop in Florence which was active from ca. 1452 until 1484. His production was vast and varied, illuminating theological, literary, historical, and devotional books. This influential text is presented here in a very professional, clearly written book well preserved with wide margins. Preserved in a morocco-backed box.LITERATURE:In the Schoenberg database nos. 364 and 11843, 13513Further reading:Mirella Levi d'Ancona, Miniatura e miniatori a Firenze dal XIV al XVI secolo. Florence 1962, pp. 109-115.J.J.G. Alexander and A. C. de la Mare, The Italian Manuscripts in the Library of Major J. R. Abbey, London 1969 (for the stamp "Di casa Minutoli-Tegrimi" as it occurs in J.A. 3216 on pl. XXII and p. 53).Milvia Bollati, in: Dizionario biografico dei miniatori italiani. Secoli IX-XVI, a cura di Milvia Bollati, Milan 2004, pp. 228-230.A. Garzelli, "Francesco Antonio del Chierico," in The Grove Dictionary of Art, ed. by Jane Turner. New York 1996, vol. 11, pp. 685-687.Jonathan J. G. Alexander (ed.), The Painted Page: Italian Renaissance Book Illumination 1450-1550, New York 1994.
      [Bookseller: Jonathan A. Hill, Bookseller, Inc.]
Last Found On: 2016-11-24           Check availability:      Biblio    

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