Jn no[m]i[n]e sancte [et] indiuidue trinitatis Jncipit [con]cordia discordantiu[m] canonu[m] : mit Brief an Albignanus, Venedig 8.6.1479, von Bartholomaeus Puteus und an Puteus, Padua 22.7. 1479, von Albignanus

Bayerische Staatsbibliothek


Gratian was a 12th-century Benedictine monk and canon lawyer from Bologna. Little is known about him beyond the fact that he compiled and wrote this collection of legal texts, which became the code of canon law used in the Roman Catholic Church until 1918. This copy of the Decretum Gratiani, glossed with Bartholomaeus of Brescia's version of the commentary by Johannes Teutonicus, was printed and illuminated in Italy in 1479. Besides receiving ornamented tempera initials, the book was illustrated with a framed dedication miniature that occupies two columns of text (folio 2 recto) and depicts a pope who is seated on a throne in the company of three cardinals, receiving the Decretum from the hand of the kneeling Gratian. The miniature is the work of Antonio Maria da Villafora, an illuminator who is attested to in Padua from 1469 (when he was married) until 1511. Among his earlier works is a copy of a Latin Bible printed in Venice in 1476, an edition of Avicenna published in Venice in 1482-83, and several incunabula belonging to Pietro Barozzi, the bishop of Padua, including his copy of the Speculum Maius (The great mirror) of Vincent of Beauvais printed in 1485-6 in Nuremberg. The miniature in the Munich copy of the Decretum shown here is also to be reckoned as one of the works of his early period. The sparse, reductive style of this scene is characteristic of this artist, as is its playfulness, as exemplified in such major works as the illumination of an Aristotle edition printed in Venice in 1483 and a Milanese missal. Antonio Maria and his well-organized workshop specialized in the decoration of printed books. Besides this copy of the Decretum Gratiani, which once belonged to the Capuchin Monastery in Salzburg, a number of incunabula of his prolific production are also kept at the Bavarian State Library in Munich.


Ulrike Bauer-Eberhardt

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