20711425 - HISTORY OF THE MINIATURE

The main goal of the course is to provide a general knowledge of the history of illuminated manuscripts in the Middle Ages. Specific goals include: the ability to analyze the forms, materials, and techniques of medieval manuscripts with the appropriate methodology and vocabulary; the ability to understand their historical context, iconographies and style; autonomy of judgement.
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Programme

HISTORY OF MANUSCRIPT ILLUMINATION

Illuminated manuscripts are a pivotal chapter in the artistic production of the medieval millennium, serving as essential testimonies to the circulation of art works, artists, models, and styles throughout the Mediterranean. Furthermore, their history complements that of monumental painting and other figural arts, providing us with a comprehensive understanding of the artistic culture of the Middle Ages.
This module aims to offer an overview of the history of medieval illustrated books, analyzing forms and book types in connection with their function, techniques, and primary sources. The exploration will delve into fundamental aspects, including patronage, iconographies, and the interrelations between manuscript illumination and other artistic media.
The program will follow a chronological structure, from the transition from roll to codex until the invention of the printing press (4th-15th centuries). Particularly significant artifacts will be analyzed in-depth. The teaching method is traditional in class, but whenever possible, on-site lectures in local libraries preserving medieval manuscripts will be planned.


Core Documentation

1) C. Segre Montel, Miniatura, in Arti e storia nel Medioevo, II, Del costruire: tecniche, artisti, artigiani, committenti, a cura di E. Castelnuovo, G. Sergi, Torino: Einaudi, 2003, pp. 491-505.

2) La miniatura in Italia, I, Dal tardoantico al Trecento con riferimenti al Medio Oriente e all’Occidente europeo, a cura di A. Putaturo Donati Murano, A. Perriccioli Saggese, Città del Vaticano: Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, Napoli: Edizioni Scientifiche Italiane, 2005, pp. 13-19, 37-89, 115-140, 194-234.

3) I. Furlan, Introduzione ai codici purpurei, in La porpora. Realtà e immaginario di un colore simbolico, Atti del convegno di studio (Venezia 1996), a cura di O. Longo, Venezia: Istituto Veneto di Scienze, Lettere ed Arti, 1998, pp. 317-337.

4) G. Mariani Canova, La porpora nel manoscritti rinascimentali e l’attività di Bartolomeo Sanvito, in La porpora. Realtà e immaginario, pp. 339-371.

5) One of the following essays:

- O. Pächt, La miniatura medievale. Una introduzione, Torino: Bollati Boringheri, 1987 (or later editions), pp. 45-95 (chapter "L’iniziale").

- K. Weitzmann, La decorazione libraria del quarto secolo: tradizione e innovazione, in Uomini, libri e immagini. Per una storia del libro illustrato dal tardo Antico al Medioevo, a cura di L. Speciale, Napoli: Liguori, 2000, pp. 15-54.

- E. Kitzinger, La miniatura nella pittura monumentale, in Uomini, libri e immagini. Per una storia del libro illustrato dal tardo Antico al Medioevo, a cura di L. Speciale, Napoli: Liguori, 2000, pp. 55-101.

Non attending students:

In addition to the above mentioned texts, student who cannot attend the course will complement their preparation as follows:

a) All three essays as of pt. 5 in the above bibliography;

b) J.J.G. Alexander, I miniatori medievali e il loro metodo di lavoro, Modena: Franco Cosimo Panini, 2003, pp. 13-110.


Attendance

Optional but strongly encouraged.

Type of evaluation

The test consists of an interview and takes place at the end of the course (there are no midterm tests). The interview will be based on the assessment of (1) knowledge and understanding of selected illuminated manuscripts, the ability to contextualize them, and to present them appropriately, according to the standards of the discipline; (2) the ability to address general problems in the history of manuscript illumination, as discussed in class and based on the course bibliography.