Initial L: The Coronation of the Virgin in a 1337 copy of the Divine Comedy with miniatures by the Master of the Dominican Effigies and text and illuminations by Francesco di Ser Nardo da Barberino. Archivio Storico Civico e Biblioteca Trivulziana - Comune di Milano, all rights reserved
The beautiful Italian hand on the detail begins, “Here begins the third cantica of the comedy of Dante Alaghiere…”
LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 04: (L-R) Florence Welch from Florence and the Machine and Daniel Radcliffe during a live broadcast of ‘TFI Friday’ on December 4, 2015 in London, England. (Photo by Jeff Spicer/Getty Images)
Giving thanks on Florence Friday. Big exhibitions like Florence at the Dawn of the Renaissance are only possible because museums are willing to lend their treasures. The British Library has generously shared their Carmina regia manuscript, illuminated by Pacino di Bonaguida.
This particular page is unusual both for the grand scale of Christ, and for the creative weaving of text throughout the image.
Manuscript illuminators really knew how to pack action into a single letter. In the upper-case T on this page, a bishop accompanied by three tonsured monks sprinkles holy water on an altar, which is topped with a gold cross and housed within a tiny open chapel. A songbird looks on approvingly from the margin.
Initial T: The Dedication of a Church, about 1342/1348–1360, Pacino di Bonaguida. Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University. At the Getty Center in Florence at the Dawn of the Renaissance
Drug jar made by an unknown artisan in Florence, about 1431
This jar once belonged to the Santa Maria Nuova Hospital, which we know because the hospital’s symbol—a crutch—is painted on each handle. (That’s a boar and oak leaves in the center.) The charitable hospital was the municipal ER of Renaissance Florence.
What is a laudario? As shopkeepers, traders, and artisans became increasingly involved in civic life in early 1300s Florence, they began to assemble into lay confraternities that performed charitable works and gathered to pray and sing hymns of praise, or laude. A compilation of these hymns is known as a laudario. The book that included this page was commissioned by one of the oldest confraternities in Florence, the Compagnia di Sant’Agnese.