Book of Lovers


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Illuminated Facsimiles

Book of Lovers

ALTERNATIVE TITLES – Libro degli Amanti – Histoire d’Amour sans Paroles – Historia de Amor sin Palabras – Das Buch der Liebenden.
PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION – Codex on parchment, dimensions 192 x 127 mm, 15 folios (30 pages).
BINDING – Nineteenth-century green leather binding with double border decoration in gold framing the front and back boards. Executed by French bookbinder Joseph Thouvenin (b. 1791, d. 1834), pupil of François Bozerian (b. 1765, d. 1826). Together with René Simier (b. 1772, d. 1843) and Jean-Georges Purgold (b. 1784, d. 1829) he was one of the most important bookbinders of his century.
ORIGIN – France (Paris, Tours or possibly Rouen).
DATING – Early 16th century.
FORMER OWNERS – In the 19th century, the codex was part of the collection of M. Armand Cigongne (b. 1790, d. 1859), a bibliophile member of the Société des bibliophiles français. In 1859 it was bought by Henri d’Orléans, Duke of Aumale (b. 1822, d. 1897), who acquired Cigongne’s whole library.
PRESENT REPOSITORY – The manuscript is now preserved in the Musée Condé in Chantilly (Ms. 388).
GENRE – Treatises / Secular books.
CONTENT – The codex recounts the love story of two lovers: from the initial stages of falling in love and seduction, to the final stages of betrayal and abandonment. Apart from two sentences written on the frame surrounding the miniatures on ff. 9r and 11r, the manuscript is devoid of textual parts. The only tool the «reader» has at his disposal to learn about the story told in the 15 folios is therefore the 28 miniatures. Not an easy task: only through a threefold reading plan – the literary topoi, the symbolism of the colours, the erotic meaning of the images – is it possible to arrive at a correct understanding of the story depicted. The narrative can be divided into three chapters, which can be identified by taking as a reference point two blank pages that interrupt the succession of images, thus dividing the story into three parts.
LANGUAGE – French.
DECORATION – 28 full-page miniatures – one heraldic emblem, 15 illuminated scenes, 12 ornamental pages.
ILLUMINATOR – The codex was certainly illuminated by a single artist, of whom – however – there is no information and to whom we cannot attribute other works.
STYLE – Northern Renaissance.
EXTERNAL LINKS – Biblissima (digitised manuscript).

Data sheet: Illuminated Facsimiles

love story without words


Full-size color reproduction of the entire original document – 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. The binding corresponds to that of the original document as it appears at the present moment.
PublisherIl Bulino edizioni d’arte (Modena, 2005), in co-edition with Eikon Editores (Madrid, 2005) and Müller und Schindler (Stuttgart/Simbach am Inn, 2005).
Series – Ars Illuminandi.
Limited edition – The unique and total print run of 500 numbered copies was equally divided among the co-publishers for distribution in their areas. A further 30 non-commercial copies are reserved for contributors and archives. The exclusive Italian edition is limited to 125 numbered copies.
Certificate of authenticity – Attached to colophon.
Printing – Grafiche Damiani (Bologna).
Binding – Green leather with gold decoration, corresponding to that of the original manuscript.
Commentary – Commentary volume in Italian by Michel Zink and Patricia Stirnemann, size 13 x 20 cm, 61 pages.
Slipcase – The facsimile and the commentary volume are housed in a leather case with engravings and gold lettering.
ISBN – 88-86251-69-6.

Copyright photos: Illuminated Facsimiles

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Il Bulino edizioni d'arte