Census of the Petrarch Manuscripts in the United States


M. 474

Parch., fine Italian preparation, ff. I (modern paper) + 139, modern pencil foliation, 285 × 171 (185-190 × 84-85) mm., 29-30 verses per page, 110 (first folio added later, with loss of text) 2-1310 148 152 (2nd is a pastedown), letters of the alphabet, A-N, with simple flourishes are inserted at the end of each quire in place of catchwords, partially cropped signatures, ruled in drypoint, written by one person in an Italic Chancery hand (proposed by Giovanni Antonio Tagliente, Lo presente libro ..., Venezia 1524, c. A4r). Illumination: on f. 1 appears a multicolored architectural frame on a ground of burgundy shredding, with a putto seated on the cornice of the entablature, the putto is holding a bird, as the end of a fallen torch rests on his knee; two putti hold torches while resting on blue helmets at the base of the columns; hanging from the cornice are trophies and ribbons, within the columns hanging from a ribbon is a gold-framed medallion with epigraphic gold letters "[A]lteriorum delitiis M. Antonius Alterius. D. D.", on a blue ground; each poem of the Rerum vulg. fragm. begins with alternating purple or green 2ߚline epigraphic initials. Binding: ca. 1520 according to H. M. Nixon (see below), black morocco tooled in gold over wooden boards bevelled to the inside, only one of the original four clasps remains; headbands of pink and green thread; edges are gilt with gauffered knot-work patterns. f. I, blank.
f. IV, Frontispiece with ownership medallion.
ff. 2-138v, Petrarch, Rerum vulg. fragm. , inc. (no. 4; lacking the first three poems) "Quel che ’nfinita providentia et arte ..." (nos. 4-58, 60-65, 59, 66-79, 81, 82, 80, 83-129, 135, 130-134, 136-138, [nos. 136-138, the Babylon poems, are defaced on ff. 61v-62], 139-237, 239, 238, 240-268, 270-273, 269, 274-323, 325, 324, 326-336, 350, 355, 337-347, 356-365, 351, 352, 354, 353, 348, 349, 366), expl. "... Ch’accolga ’l spirto mio ultimo in pace".
f. 139rv, blank.
2nd. f.: a piè
Written in Italy, probably Rome, ca. 1520.
Owned in s. XVI1 by Marco Antonio Altieri (a Roman humanist, 1450-1532) who replaced f. 1 (now Trieste, Biblioteca Civica, MS. 165 ) with the present f. 1 containing a medallion with his name; the library no. " III. b. 4 " appears on f. 139v and on the back pastedown, written in a 16thߚcent. hand; Eugène Piot, his sale, Paris, 1 June 1891, no. 511, to Baron Roger Portalis; Rodolphe Kann (Cat. of the Kann Collection, I, 1907, p. 56, no. 71, with plate); Harvey Frost (Quaritch, 1939); bought from A. Imbert in 1911.
Ullman, no. 68; De Ricci, p. 1456, no. 474; Wilkins, no. 25; Jasenas, p. 30, no. 14, pl. 9 (off. 1v). For binding, see H.M. Nixon, Sixteenthߚcentury Gold-Tooled Bookbindings in the Pierpont Morgan Library (New York, 1971), 13-15, with plate. Cfr. José Ruysschaert who discusses Altieri’s library in "Miniaturistes ‘Romains’ sous Pie II", in Enea Silvio Piccolomini Papa Pio II (Siena, 1968), 276, footnote 203.
Appendix: Trieste, Italy, Biblioteca Civica, MS. 165
In 1985 it was called to my attention by Dr. A. C. de la Mare that the original f. l of M. 474 has been located by Stefano Zamponi and identified by Dr. de la Mare as MS. 165 in the Biblioteca Civica of Trieste ; not being available at the time it was only quoted in Prof. Zamponi’s census of Petrarch manuscripts in the Trieste library, S. Zamponi, I manoscritti petrarcheschi della Biblioteca Civica di Trieste. Storia e catalogo, Padova 1984, 151. Here follows a description of the leaf as I have been able to compile it from a xerox copy furnished by Dr. de la Mare and from the photograph copy accompanying T. de Marinis’ note, "Di un codice di Petrarca da ritrovare", in Homage to a Bookman: Essays on Manuscripts, Books and Printing written for Hans P. Kraus on His 60th Birthday, edited by H. Lehmann-Haupt (Berlin, n. d. [1967]), 114-15; prophetically, de Marinis remarked, "Many years ago we saw in the Biblioteca Civica of Trieste an illuminated leaf, the opening page removed from a codex of Petrarch’s Rime. We show here a reproduction of the leaf in the vague hope that the multilated codex may still exist and could be reunited with this leaf".
I extend my thanks to Dr. de la Mare and. Prof. Zamponi for their assistance in making known the Trieste leaf and its relationship to M. 474.
One parchment folio, 275 × 165 mm. (trimmed), containing on the recto side the beginning sonnet no. 1 of the Rerum vulg. fragm. and on the verso sonnets 3 and 2, the script is the same as M. 474 . The opening page is lavishly illuminated: sonnet no. 1 is written on a free-standing entablature which rests on a richly decorated architectural frame; the sonnet begins with a 3ߚline gold initial on an arabesque background and gold frame; on each side of the text are decorated columns, one to the left and two to the right, between the columns on the right is a coin-shaped medallion of a man riding a horse, supported by grotesque figures above and below; in the upper margin is a central medallion of two nude standing figures, flanked by two winged putti holding ribbons, torches and cornucopia, with an effaced coat-of-arms below the medallion, all on a background of fanciful clouds; in the lower margin is a medallion, in the form of a window, outlined in arabesque decoration, of cupid upon a chariot being pulled by two swans, a burning orb rests behind the chariot and a city and countryside are in the background; the medallion is surrounded by four smaller medallions in square frames depicting the centaur Nessus fleeing with Deianira, Hercules shooting an arrow at Nessus, Pasiphaë riding a bull, and Leda and the swan. The illumination and decoration which were probably made in Rome appear to have inspired the illuminator of the substitute leaf which presently opens M. 474.

De Ricci
De Ricci, S. Census of Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts in the United States and Canada. 3 vols. New York, 1935-40.
Jasenas, M. Petrarch in America: A Survey of Petrarch Manuscripts. New York and Washington, D. C., 1974.
Ullman, B. L. Petrarch Manuscripts in the United States (Censimento dei codici petrarcheschi, no. 1). Padova, 1964 (also in Italia medioevale e umanistica, v [1962], 443-475).
Wilkins, E.H. "Manuscripts of the Canzoniere and the Triumphs in American Libraries", Modern Philology, XLV (1947), 23-35 (updated in Wilkins, E.H. The Making of the "Canzoniere" and Other Petrarchan Studies. Roma, 1951.

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