Titus Livius, Les décades

Henri d’Orquevaulz

Illuminated manuscript on vellum 45 x 31.8 cm (17.7 x 12.5 in.) Metz - 1440

This extraordinary copy of Livy’s "History of Rome" was translated into French as "Les décades". Its text is a copy of the first translation of any major classical author into French, originally commissioned by the French King John II the Good. The manuscript is outstanding not only in historical importance, but also in size. The sheer dimensions of this 15th-century manuscript make it a showstopper highlight of the exhibition. Measuring 450 x 318 mm and with 87 large miniatures, this manuscript is the most profusely illustrated of all known copies of Livy. The extremely fine 16th-century binding à la fanfare is equally spectacular.

The engaging illustrations are a medieval feast for the eyes in a profusion of color, evoking a world of chivalric splendor with knights in armor, kings, and maidens, battle scenes, jousts, and banquets. Extraordinarily, on the last leaf of the book, the makers of this manuscript are not only named, but are also pictured, including a self-portrait of the artist, a portrait of the scribe, and a portrait of their patron. This outstanding work is on the market at an asking price of 1.650.000 euro.

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Dr. Jörn Günther Rare Books AG

"Books, Maps and Manuscripts"

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