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    The manuscript 55.K.2 (Rossi 17).
    The stories of Saint Francis in the Corsinian Speculum

    Speculum humanae salvationis
    Treccani presents the facsimile reproduction of the manuscript 55.K.2 (Rossi 17), housed in the Biblioteca dell’Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei e Corsiniana, a historic library in Rome, containing the Speculum humanae salvationis, an anonymous theological work composed by a Dominican author in the first quarter of the 14th century. The codex was produced a few years later, written between the late 1540s and early 1550s in a Franciscan setting in Avignon, as shown by its marvellous series of illustrations featuring episodes of the biblical cycle and scenes of the life of Saint Francis. The Corsinian codex, on parchment, is made up of folios IIII (hardback) + 47 + IIII' (hardback) and contains three additional chapters compared to the Speculum: the Passion of Christ, the Seven Sorrows of Mary and the Seven Joys of the Virgin. The manuscript contains 277 illuminations, 178 of which illustrate the text of the Speculum humanae salvationis and 49 refer to episodes from the life of Saint Francis.
    The Institute of the Italian Encyclopaedia is very proud to present this work to its readers, since its commitment and contribution proved to be crucial in 2018 when the original order of the four booklets that make up the codex was finally restored, as it had been changed during a previous restoration. This is a remarkable example of the successful combination of popularisation and preservation when it comes to managing cultural heritage.

    On the one hand, there is a commitment to bring long-hidden masterpieces to light, which would otherwise probably remain unknown to the general public and, on the other hand, to help preserve them and, as in this specific case, ensure that they are restored to their original appearance. It is also worthy of interest as it illustrates the story of Saint Francis, who is still a key figure in contemporary theological thought and in highly topical issues such as the relationship between man and the environment in the anthropocene era – for instance, the sensitivity towards ecological issues that characterises Pope Francis’ 2015 encyclical, Laudato si’ (Praise Be to You).

    The facsimile contains a commentary consisting of more than 200 pages, with essays edited by leading experts on the many aspects that define the appearance of the manuscript: Marco Guardo, Chiara Frugoni, Francesca Manzari, Nicoletta Giovè Marchioli, Anna Candida Felici and Michela Perino; the commentary also contains 20 out-of-text colour plates.

    The facsimile is printed in four colours using the stochastic screening technique with special highly pigmented inks, silver paste, gold paste and gold hot stamping on Luxor parchment paper by Cartiere Fedrigoni; the endpapers are printed on Ingres paper by Cartiere Fabriano. It is hand bound; the silk headband is hand sewn. The cover is made of brown full grain leather with nerves and blind tooling, a bas relief print on the front cover, spine and back; gold sprayed on three sides. It is contained in a wooden slipcase that opens up like a book with a glossy lacquered surface finish. It also has its own bookrest and a lower compartment for the commentary, covered in Alcantara.

    Print run of 399 hand-numbered copies plus 10 unnumbered copies.