TextmanuscriptTextmanuscripts - Les Enluminures

les Enluminures


In Latin, illuminated manuscript on parchment
Italy, Veneto (Padua? or Ferrara?), between 1474-1476

TM 188

12 folios, complete, copied on a single quire (i12), last 2 ff. blank, ruled in leadpoint, written in a fine slightly slanted italic minuscule, on 24 lines (justification 130 x 70 mm), first capital of each verse set off to the left, ELEGANT OPENING COLORED EPIGRAPHIC CAPITALS in gold, pale red, blue, green and purple (preamble and main text), TWO 3- to 4- LINE HIGH GOLD INITIALS WITH WHITE VINE-STEM on blue, red and green grounds highlighted with white tracery (ff. 1v, 2v), ONE GOLD INTIAL on a blue and red ground also highlighted with white tracery (f. 3), PAINTED ARMS held by haloed and winged angel with background shaded with blue, with supplementary decoration of colored flowers, gold disks among hairline tracery on either side of a head of a winged cherub. Bound (rebound?) in a contemporary (Venetian?) binding of blind-stamped light brown goatskin over pasteboards, boards panelled in a double frame composed of triple blind filets, central panel decorated with blind ropework designs and circular punches, with punches gilt in inner frame [Compare bindings with T. De Marinis, La legatura artistica… (1960), no. 1606, Venezia, Museo Correr, 314, ca. 1483; no. 1615, Venezia, Archivio di Stato, espos. 14. LXXVII, ca. 1489] (Spine rubbed, else in overall excellent condition, with wide clear margins). Dimensions 220 x 155 mm.

Unknown to the nineteenth-century editor of Pagello’s writings, this is a deluxe presentation copy of a manuscript that survives only in one other copy, the working autograph. It contains a versified panegyric in praise of the Doge Pietro Mocenigo dedicated by the author to the ten-year-old son of the Doge. The elegant humanistic script, brightly colored epigraphic headings, and fine illumination were completed in the region of Padua-Ferrara probably by the well-known scribe Johannes Nydenna perhaps in collaboration with the illuminator Giovanni Vendramin.


1. Presentation copy of a versified praise of Pietro Mocenigo, 70th Doge of Venice (1474-1476), dedicated by the author Bartholomeus Pagellus to Leonardo Mocenigo, son of the Doge. The manuscript was produced in the Veneto, to judge by the decoration and corroborated by the binding. It bears the arms of the Mocenigo family in the lower margin of f. 1v: Coupé d’azur sur argent, à deux roses à quatre feuilles de l’un à l’autre, boutonnées d’or (Rietstap, Armorial général…, 1887, vol. II, p. 233).

2. Pasted paper leaf, with penned note that reads: "Paielli Bartholomii Carmen in laudem Petri Mocenigi. Cod. Membranaceus sec. XVI [sic]… " and the following shelfmark, Lib. 4 Scaf. 2. No. 16B. This is a note copied by Abate Matteo Luigi Canonici (1727-1805), a Venetian Jesuit and librarian. These notes are of the type commonly found in Canonici manuscripts. Upon his death, approximately two-thirds of his large collection was acquired by the Bodleian Library at Oxford in 1817.

3. Reverend Walter Sneyd, of Coventry (1809-1888), bibliophile and antiquarian, who acquired the surplus of Matteo Luigi Canonici’s library in 1835. His heraldic bookplate, pasted on upper pastedown: "Guelteri Sneyd ex-libris." Sold at Sotheby’s, Friday 18th December 1903, lot. 587 (see Sotheby, Wilkinson & Hodge, Catalogue of a Selected Portion of the Library of […] Illuminated & Other Manuscripts…The Property of the Late Rev. Walter Sneyd, M.A., 1903, p. 87, lot. 587).

4. Librairie Pierre Berès, Paris (published in Manuscrits et enluminures, du 11e au 18e s., Paris, n.d., no. 29).


f. 1, blank;

ff. 1v-2, Bartholomeus Paiellus, [Carmen in laudem Petri Mocenigi], Dedicatory epistle of the author to Leonardo Mocenigo, heading in colored epigraphic capitals: BARTHOLOMAEUS PAIELLUS EQUES VICE[N]TINUS CLARISSIMO PATRICII ORDINIS VIRO LEONARDO MOCENIGO S.P.D.; incipit, "M/alo tibi Leonarde Mocenige vir classime Breviori Epistola & ea quidem simpliciore animum in te meum testari…"; explicit, "[…] Interea Mocenigam habeto testimonium fidei & observantie in te nostre verissimum";

ff. 2-2v, Bartholomeus Paiellus, [Carmen in laudem Petri Mocenigi], Preface, heading in colored epigraphic capitals: BARTHOLOMAEI PAIELLI EQUITIS VICE[N]TINI PREFATIO I[N] LAUDES ET RES GESTAS DIVI VENETORU[M] PRI[N]CIPIS ATQUE IMPERATORIS I[N]VICTISSIMI PETRI MOCENIGI; incipit, "D/um petit exultans audacibus ethera pennis / Et patrias spreta deserit arte vias…";

ff. 3-10, Bartholomeus Paiellus, [Carmen in laudem Petri Mocenigi], Panegyric in praise of the Doge Pietro Mocenigo, incipit, "M/axime dux Venetium quo nec pietate nec alter / Iusticia sumptis ve fuit prestantior armis… "; explicit, "[…] Primiciis averte meis non semper ad Aras / Clitumno perfusa sacro cadit Hostia Taurus";

ff. 10v-12v, blank.

Barthomeus Paiellus or Pagello (1447/1448-c. 1526) was a nobleman and humanist from Vicenza. Trained by Ognibene da Lonigo, master of Vicenza’s public school, he helped to shape humanism in the region of Vicenza. Pagello learned to write eloquent letters and elegant verse in the leisure hours that complemented a career of public-office holding and the management of his substantial possessions. His letters focus on his precepts on education, on the liberal arts (by which one ascends to virtue), and on friendship, reflecting both his city and epoch. But Pagello was above all a poet who prized Latin over Italian, as is evident in the present verses. On the author, see the most recent study by Marx, 1978.

The present work is a Latin panegyric composed in honor of Pietro Mocenigo (1406-1476) who was elected Doge of Venice (1474-1476) largely on account of his military successes as Admiral especially in the wars waged against the Turks. His elaborately decorated tomb sculpted by Pietro Lombardo (between 1476 and 1481) is housed in the basilica of San Giovanni e Paolo in Venice. The present copy is the dedication copy offered to the doge’s son Leonardo Mocenigo (died in 1534; his mother Laura Zorzi) and dated between 1474 and 1476, since Pietro Mocenigo is referred to on f. 2 as "Venetorum principis atque imperatoris…," a title he held only during two years prior to his death of malaria in 1476. This work is not a "Laudatio in funere, ” but rather a contemporary praise of the newly elected--and still living--Doge. Cicogna (1847, no. 2301) confirms this: "Il Mocenigo in questi due opuscoli è lodato come generalissimo del mare, essendo poscia asceso al principato" [In these two works, Mocenigo is praised as the Grand Admiral of the Venetian fleet, only recently appointed head of the Venetian Republic]. The work is dedicated to Leonardo, son of Pietro, who must have been just over 10 years old at the time of composition and dedication. Leonardo Mocenigo would grow up to become Podestà of Verona, Counselor to the Doge between 1498 and 1502.

There in only one other extant copy of this work (Vicenza, Bibl. Bertoliana, MS. 487, Bartolomaei Paielli, Opera Bartolomei Paielli equitis Vincentini…, written on paper, the present work on ff. 93-105; see Mazzatinti, 1892, p. 76). The Vicenza manuscript is the autograph copy, whereas the present manuscript is the “proper” presentation copy.

There were two nineteenth-century editions of this work. The first is Cicogna, 1847, no. 2301: "De laudibus Petri Mocenici Carmen Bartholomaei Pajelli, Patavii [Padova], Semin. 1844, in-8". The title-page reads: Per le nozze Mocenigo-Da Porto, Padova, Coi tipi del Seminario, 1844. This publication was printed by the typographical press of the Seminario di Padova, on the occasion of the wedding of a member of the Mocenigo family, Count Ottaviano Mocenigo with Laura da Porto in 1844, with a brief introduction in praise of Pietro Mocenigo, his illustrious ancestor (We thank here Dom R. Battochio of the Biblioteca del Seminario Vescovile di Padova, for his help). After Cicogna’s publication in 1847, Pagello’s works were edited by Zordan in 1894. For a list of Pagello’s writings, see Angiolgabriello di Santa Maria, 1772), II, pp. 262-305.

The only extant deluxe copy of this Panegyric, the present manuscript is copied in an elegant humanist script, most certainly in the Veneto. It is decorated with elegant vine-stem decoration on brightly colored grounds by an artist close to the Veneto-Ferrarese school of illumination. The script recalls that of a manuscript in Padua, Bibl. capitolare (MS. D. 11), copied by Johannes Nydenna in 1472, who was active in Padua in the 1460s and 1470s (see Alexander and De La Mare,1969, pp. 122-123; and Mariani Canova, 1969, cat. 55, pl. 69). The illuminator of the Paduan manuscript is described as a “maestro padavano-ferrarese" (Mariani Canova, 1969, cat. 55, pl. 69 and 56, pl. 67-68) identified later as Giovanni Vendramin (Mariani Canova, 1999) and his style is close to that in the present manuscript.

During the same period (second half of the 1470s), it is interesting to note that Bartolomeo Pagello associated himself with the humanist Barnaba da Celsano, master at the public school of Vicenza (replacing Ognibene da Lonigo) and Giovanni da Reno, who was a printer originally based in Santorso, and active in promoting humanistic printing in Vicenza at an early date, c. 1476-1477. Hence, although his works still circulated in manuscript form, Pagello was an active proponent of the printed press in his city (see Barbieri, 1990, III/2, pp. 115-118).


Alexander, J.G. and A. C. De La Mare. The Italian Manuscripts in the Library of Major J.R. Abbey, London, 1969.

Angiolgabriello di Santa Maria, F. Biblioteca e storia di quei scrittori cosi della città coma del territorio di Vicenza, che pervennero fin ad ora a notizia del P. F. Angiolgabriello di Santa Maria, Vicenza, G. B. Vendramini Mosca, 1772-1782.

Barbieri, F. and P. Preto. Storia di Vicenza. L’Età della Repubblica Veneta (1404-1797), Vicenza, Neri Pozza Editore, 1990, vol. III/2.

Cicogna, E. A. Saggio di bibliografica veneziana…, Venice, G.B. Merlo, 1847.

Grubb, James S. Firstborn of Venice: Vicenza in the Early Renaissance State, Baltimore, Johns Hopkins University Press, 1988.

Kristeller, P. O. Iter Italicum. A finding list of uncatalogued or incompletely catalogues humanistic manuscripts of the Renaissance in Italy and other libraries, vol. II, London-Leiden, 1967.

Mariani Canova, G. La miniatura veneta del Rinascimiento 1450-1500, Venice, 1969.

Mariani Canova, G. (ed.). La miniatura a Padova dal medioevo al settecento…, Modena, F.C. Panini, 1999.

Marx, B. Bartolomeo Pagello: Epistolares familiares (1464-1525). Materialien zur Vicentiner Kulturgeschichte des 15. Jahrhunderts und kritische Edition des Briefwechsels, Padua, Editrice Antenore, 1978.

Mazzatinti, G. Inventarie dei manoscritti delle biblioteche d’Italia. Vicenza, Como, Cagli, Nicosia…, vol. II, Forli, 1892.

Zordan, F. (ed.). [Pagello, Bartolomeo]. Poesie inedite di Bartolomeo Pagello, celebre umanista, con biografia e note per cura del dott. Fr. Zordan, Tortona, Tip. Adriano Rossi, 1894.