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    The Douce 134 manuscript.
    Wonderful vision

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    Treccani presents the facsimile reproduction of the Douce 134 manuscript, kept at the Bodleian Library in Oxford, containing the text of the Livre de la Vigne nostra Seigneur (the title comes from the parable of the workers in the vineyard, Matthew 20, 1-16), a treatise in lingua franca on the Antichrist, the Last Judgment, Hell and Heaven, which highlights how the reason for the infernal pains has fueled biblical exegesis, stimulating the imagination of the artists committed to supporting its message. This parchment codex, in folio, dated to the 15th century, illuminated in gold and composed of 170 sheets (paper guards [ff. I-iv], v + 165), was produced in south-eastern France and is characterized by a rich apparatus iconographic - 83 miniatures, of which 16 full-page, executed in the Scriptorium of the monastery of the Grande Chartreuse, the mother house of the Carthusian order - and many corrections and insertions by the amanuensis. This work brings together human, religious and artistic values. The code, elegant and prestigious, constitutes an extraordinary testimony for its historical value and an authentic masterpiece for the joy of the colors and the depth of the suggestions it offers. The Livre de la Vigne, contained in the manuscript reproduced in facsimile, constitutes a precious document for understanding the vision of the world in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance.
    Its character as a devotional text - addressed to an elite who is warned against basking in their own privileges - makes it perfect to lead us, through a phantasmagoric iconographic path, to the intimate understanding of a society that saw in the otherworldly perspective, with its punishments and its rewards, the ultimate goal of human action. A perspective that, however, we are already around 1460, begins to lose its centrality and in this sense the ms. Douce 134 stands as a mirror of his time and his anxieties.


    The manuscript was purchased by the famous collector Francis Douce in 1823, as illustrated in the preface and in the codicological sheet of the commentary accompanying the facsimile Martin Kauffmann, director of the collections of ancient and rare books and curator of medieval manuscripts at the Bodleian Library. This is the second of two volumes, the first of which, kept in the Bibliothèque Municipale of Grenoble, has been identified with the ms. 408 (337), which bears the date "March 5, 1463" in its colophon and certifies that the second volume had already been completed. The facsimile is accompanied by a 210-page commentary, accompanied by 40 color plates out of text, conceived under the scientific direction of Tullio Gregory and including, in addition to the aforementioned contributions by Kauffmann, an introductory essay by Jean-Robert Armogathe on the figure of 'Antichristo, followed by a historical-literary framing by Francesco Santi on the Livre de la Vigne in the Latin-medieval tradition. The analysis is completed by the interventions of Marina Falla Castelfranchi, for the historical-artistic and iconological part, and of Chiara Franceschini, for the examination of the miniatures of Douce 134.

    The facsimile is hot-stamped in four colors plus gold on all pages on Luxor parchment paper by Cartiere Fedrigoni; the endpapers are printed on Ingres paper from Cartiere Fabriano. The ligature is stitched on four nerves, with a fifth nerve on the back reupholstered; die cutting of all pages. The cover is in full grain leather with two different colors for plates and back, with nerves and dry decorations with squares and rhombuses and with additional engraved floral decoration; both plates are fitted with four flattened convex brass studs, fixed on the inside of the plate; spray gold on three sides. The work is contained in a cardboard marmot box covered in canvas on the outside and with a Suedel cushion on the inside. The edition is 299 hand-numbered copies plus 10 out-of-number copies.