Five Illuminated Manuscripts of Giangaleazzo Visconti
AUTHOR: Kirsch, Edith W.
PUBLISHER: Pennsylvania State University Press
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Five Illuminated Manuscripts of Giangaleazzo Visconti is an in-depth study of several illuminated manuscripts commissioned by a major 14th-century Italian patron of art and learning.
Edith Kirsch in this book reveals how a group of manuscripts commissioned by Giangaleazzo Visconti (and, in one instance, by his immediate family) reflect not only his dynastic concerns but also the development of his inclination to express these concerns through works of art establishing both his classical heroism and his Christian piety. Considered as a group for the first time, these manuscripts document one of Giangaleazzo's most innovative activities as a manuscript collector-the commissioning of lavish manuscripts to commemorate major dynastic events. In their richness and in the extraordinary verisimilitude and historical specificity of their decoration, these manuscripts document the self-image of a prince who set out to record his unprecedented accomplishments in unprecedented fashion. Like his politics, however, Giangaleazzo's patronage of the arts was shaped by the practices of his ancestors, and his accomplishments as a patron are best understood in the context of family tradition.
Giangaleazzo's library rivaled even that of his brother-in-law, King Charles V of France, reputed to be the greatest collector of manuscripts in late fourteenth-century Europe. Kirsch's study rests on the premise that Giangaleazzo's patronage of manuscripts was marked by certain characteristic features: execution of the work by exceptionally gifted scribes and illuminators, unusual fullness and richness of both text and illumination, unusual combinations of texts, unusual conjunctions of text and image, and iconographical manipulation of miniatures and borders to fit certain historical circumstances and to express particular devotions.
This study enriches our understanding of each of the manuscripts in the group and traces the development of a distinctive pattern of patronage that influenced the visual arts in Milan for over a century.
PUBLICATION DATE: 2/25/1991
CATEGORY: Art, Design, History