Pontifical of Boniface IX

Vatican City, Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, Ms. Vat. Lat. 3747

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Pontifical of Boniface IX

Vatican City, Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, Ms. Vat. Lat. 3747

Category:
Alternative titles – Pontificale di Bonifacio IX – Pontifikale Papst Bonifazius IX.
Physical features – Codex on parchment, dimensions 320 x 225 mm, III-44-III folios.
Binding – Leather cover with a double-thread frame stamped in gold around the perimeter of the two boards. The centre of the upper cover is stamped with the coat of arms of Pius VI (b. 1717, d. 1799), while the centre of the lower cover is stamped with the coat of arms of Cardinal librarian Francesco Saverio de Zelada (b. 1717, m. 1804). The binding can therefore be dated to the end of the 18th century. The spine has six raised bands, with the coats of arms of Pius IX (b. 1792, d. 1878) and that of Cardinal librarian Angelo Mai (b. 1782, d. 1854), stamped in gold in the outer panel areas. The spine was then redone later, between 1853 and 1854, the years in which Angelo Mai was Vatican librarian.
Origin – Italy.
Dating – The manuscript was made during the pontificate of Boniface IX (1389-1404). These were the years of the Western Schism, which divided Christendom into two blocs after the double election of 1378.
Patronage – It was commissioned by Pope Boniface IX, born Pietro Tomacelli (b. 1354, d. 1404). The patronage is evidenced by the presence of the Tomacelli coat of arms in various folios of the manuscript – surmounted by the triregnum. Above all, the patronage is testified by the inscription surrounding the miniature on f. 39v: «Sanctissimus dominus noster summus pontifex, Bonifatius nonus fecit fieri hunc librum, ad honorem et gloriam sanctissime Trinitatis, et sui pontificatus».
Present repository – The codex has been preserved for centuries in the Vatican Library, under the shelfmark Ms. Vat. Lat. 3747.
Genre – Christianity, Liturgical books.
Content – The Vat. Lat. 3747 has long been considered a pontifical (i.e. a liturgical book containing the rituals in use during celebrations held by the bishop). This definition – also confirmed by Pierre Salmon in his work «Les manuscrits liturgiques latins de la Bibliothèque vaticane» (Vatican City, 1968) – was certainly influenced by the text and some of the miniatures contained in the manuscript. Recent studies on the content of the codex – which were undertaken during the production of the facsimile edition – tell us that it is instead a different liturgical book. It is a Praeparatio ad missam for the use of the Pontiff, containing the texts of the prayers and the rituals for the pope’s preparation to the celebration of mass. In this regard, see the rituals for the dressing of the Pontiff illustrated in the large historiated initials.
Language – Latin.
Script – Gothic Rotunda.
Scribe – A main scribe worked on ff. 2r-41r. The subsequent folios were completed later by several hands, presumably three.
Decoration – The decorative apparatus of the codex is rich and of undoubtedly high quality. A full-page miniature on f. 39v depicts the pope during the Benedictio coram populo. The main sections begin with 9 large historiated initials in gold leaf – some of which are full-page – illustrating the Pontiff’s dressing rites. The secondary sections are identified by 25 initials, from which radiate a rich decoration of foliate, candelabra and drôlerie surrounding the written text. Numerous minor initials further embellish the codex.
Illuminators – Studies carried out during the production of the facsimile led to the identification in Rome of the workshop where the Vat. Lat. 3747 was produced. This was a workshop that produced at least three other manuscripts for Boniface IX. The artists working in this workshop drew on Neapolitan and Abruzzese models contemporary with them, but also on others that were older and linked to tradition.
Style – Gothic.

Data sheet: Illuminated Facsimiles®

Pontifical of Boniface IX

FACSIMILE EDITION

Type of reproduction – Full-size color reproduction of the entire original document.
Publisher – ArtCodex (Castelvetro di Modena, 2007), in co-edition with the Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana (Vatican City, 2007).
Series – The facsimile edition of the Pontifical of Boniface IX is included in the series Codices e Vaticanis Selecti, Series Maior, no. XCV published by the Vatican Library.
Limited edition – Limited edition of 500 copies numbered in Arabic numerals and LXII copies intended for Publishers.
Certificate of authenticity – The certificate of authenticity with the copy number is attached to the colophon.
Binding – The binding corresponds to that of the original document as it appears at the present moment.
Commentary – Commentary volume in Italian, in-octavo format, 159 pages. Edited by Ambrogio M. Piazzoni. Texts by Ambrogio M. Piazzoni, Arnold Esch, Adalbert Roth, Francesca Manzari, Maria Gabriella Critelli, Piergiorgio Parodi and Luciano Malagoli.
ISBN – 978-88-6180-001-4 (ArtCodex), 978-88-210-0812-2 (Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana).
The facsimile reproduces as close as possible the physical characteristics of the original document, with the aim to substitute it in the scientific research and in the libraries of the bibliophile collectors. Trimming and composition of the leaves reproduce the profile and structure of the original document.

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