Excerpts

From the essay by Pier Luigi Mulas “La miniatura lombarda nell’ultimo quarto del Quattrocento”

“The studies of the last two decades have in many ways modified our understanding of Lombard illumination in the years of Ludovico Sforza. The approach most frequently adopted in our research consists in monographic studies of individual artists. In this manner, we have brought to light the careers of illuminators of whom we knew little or nothing until recent years. This has, to a certain extent, lessened the importance of the better known illuminators. Today, for example, the influence exerted by Giovan Pietro Birago has been reassessed and scaled down (Birago was a name which, until recently, attracted to it part of the production of minor importance). Nowadays, we know more about the ‘bramantesco-bramantiniani’ illuminators (illuminators in the Bramante and Bramantino mould), who have benefited from the focus of scholars on artists who were more open to the trend toward the monumental in painting. We may ascribe to this desire to broaden out the field of observation of the contemporary context of the arts, accompanied by a move away from sector-based specialism, the more in-depth investigation of contacts between illumination and the so-called ‘allied’ arts – enamel, stained glass, and engraving. Furthermore, while we are more aware of the contribution of Emilian culture to the language of the Lombards, we find the roots of Matteo da Milano (who was to be so successful in his activities beyond the borders of the former duchy) in the tradition of Milan.”

From the essay by Jean-Baptiste Lebigue “Analisi testuale delle Ore Torriani”

“Although on a smaller scale, the composition of the Torriani Hours tallies with the most traditional structure.  The calendar opens the work, thus following in the footsteps of other liturgical manuscripts such as breviaries or missals. In any case, we must bear it in mind that this position is of no practical use in a book of hours, since the feast-day events indicated in the calendar do not in any way have a bearing on the reciting of the offices and prayers which the work contains. The purely decorative purpose of the calendar is particularly evident in this case, because two essential components are missing: the count of the days of the months and the ‘Golden Number’. The copyist has limited himself to maintaining the column of the letters indicating the Sundays: namely a sequence of seven letters, from A to G – repeated uninterruptedly from 1 January to the end of the year –, with each letter corresponding to a day. Thus, when the date, 1 January, falls on a Sunday, the letter indicating Sunday throughout the year is A, and all the letters A in the calendar correspond to Sundays.  If the date, 1 January, falls on a Saturday, B shall be the letter indicating Sunday because the first Sunday of the year occurs on 2 January, and so forth.  This instrument, used to calculate the date for Easter, is of no use whatsoever in the absence of the two components missing here. Firstly, we cannot find the date without counting the lines of ruling; there is no mention, in fact, of the days of the month, which, in Medieval calendars, are recorded in the Roman manner, which consists in the practice of counting backwards starting from the nones and from the ides – fifth and thirteen days of the month, except March, May, July and October (months in which the nones occur on the seventh day and the ides on the fifteenth), and from the calends of the following month (first day of the month). Secondly, the sequence of letters indicating Sunday should be preceded by another column with an interrupted series of numbers, the highest being 19, in a sequence that repeats itself every 29 or 30 lines. We have here the so-called ‘Golden Number’, based on the convergence between lunar cycles and the solar year (taking place every 19 years). The years are numbered from 1 to 19, and the ‘Golden Number’ of the year makes it possible to place the days of the new moon in the calendar. These three components are crucial for calculating the date of Easter, occurring on the first Sunday (weekly sequence taking as its basis the letter indicating Sunday) after the full moon (lunar cycle determined by the Golden Number) following 21 March (fixed date of the solar year).”

Decorazione, particolare
Decorazione, particolare


Giugno
Giugno


Andata al Calvario, particolare
Andata al Calvario, particolare


Natività, particolare
Natività, particolare


Ottobre
Ottobre