Description

  • This celebrated manuscript of the Commedia of Dante Alighieri (1265–1321) containing the complete text of the Inferno, Purgatorio, and Paradiso was copied in the hand of Giovanni Boccaccio (1313–75) and is one of the most splendid manuscripts in the collection of the Biblioteca Riccardiana. Boccaccio illustrated the manuscript with five pen drawings in the lower margin of a series of leaves in the Inferno. These images were authenticated in 1992 by the noted Florentine scholar Maria Grazia Ciardi Duprè dal Poggetto. The most complete drawing depicts Dante in conversation with Virgil, set in a landscape of trees and mountains, populated by a lion, a leopard, and a wolf, suggesting the motif of the “peaceable kingdom.” According to Ciardi Duprè, the images are consistent with others known to be by Boccaccio. The text also includes a brief introduction to each of the three parts of the poem. In the 15th century, the manuscript belonged to Bartolomeo di Benedetto Fortini (1402–70), a prosperous citizen of Florence, and an ownership inscription in Bartolomeo’s hand appears on the final leaf of the manuscript. Best known for his fictional masterpiece Il Decameron (The Decameron), Boccaccio was an important early interpreter of Dante. In 1373 he gave a series of lectures on the poet that resulted in a major commentary, Esposizioni sopra la Commedia di Dante. It was Boccaccio who first applied the epithet “divine” to Dante’s poem, which Dante himself had simply called Comedia.

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Title in Original Language

  • La divina commedia

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Physical Description

  • 187 folios ; 295 x 195 millimeters

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