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    Re Artù, i cavalieri della Tavola Rotonda e la ricerca del Santo Graal
    TreccaniTreccani

    Re Artù, i cavalieri della Tavola Rotonda e la ricerca del Santo Graal

    Treccani presents the facsimile reproduction of the French manuscript 112 (3), resident at the Bibliothèque Nationale de France in Paris. This contains an extraordinary compilation of narrative material related to the events of Lancelot and Tristan, and King Arthur and the Holy Grail.

    The facsimile reproduces the parchment codex measuring 31 × 44 cm, dated to 1470, composed of ff. II, 230, II and accompanied by 133 elegant tabular miniatures of various sizes, which occupy one or two writing columns and constantly dialogue with the text.

    The manuscript 112 (3) contains the narration of the events of King Arthur and the knights of the Round Table, in search of the mythical Holy Grail, the cup with which Jesus celebrated the Last Supper and in which Joseph of Arimathea collected the blood of Christ after his crucifixion. Made on parchment by Micheau Gonnot, the official copyist of Jacques d'Armagnac, French nobleman, Duke of Nemours and Count of La Marche and Castres, this superb codex features an unusual airiness in its layout on two columns, and above all the rich exuberance of elegant decorative and illustrative elements, invented in a spirit of tireless variation that surprises and fascinates the reader. It was created by a highly skilled workshop coordinated by Évrard d'Espinques, a French painter and miniaturist of German origin, active between 1440 and 1494, to whom other important illuminated chivalry manuscripts are attributed. Its iconographic content features 133 extraordinary miniatures of various dimensions closely accompanying the written text, which narrates the unfolding of the entire narrative, effectively orienting the reader, along with section summaries. Extra space is given to representing the tournament and battle scenes, for which accurate large-scale miniatures are reserved. These accentuate the warlike component of the texts, offering not only the image of an idealised world of chivalry, capable of imposing itself as a lasting model of behaviour, but implicitly also suggesting a radical criticism of the monarchical centralism of the French crown. Taken together, the text and images of this codex therefore represent one of the most complete and fascinating narrations of the Arthurian epic, one of the most famous and best loved medieval tales. 

    The facsimile is accompanied by a volume of commentary consisting of over 180 pages, with a preface by Lino Leonardi, an analysis of the code and its context by Claudio Lagomarsini, an essay on the models and forms of compilation by Nicola Morato, a contribution on the miniatures of Ilaria Molteni's manuscript and two appendices containing a table of contents and sources, and a description of the miniatures. The commentary is also accompanied by 25 colour plates without text.


    The facsimile is printed with a stochastic screen in five colours plus gold hot on Stucco parchment paper by the Cartiere Fedrigoni paper-maker. The endpapers are printed in four colours on Cartiere Fedrigoni Arena Smooth White paper. The binding is in red full Moroccan leather with gold impressions on the front plate and on the back. The print-run consists of 299 copies numbered by hand from 1 to 299, plus 9 copies in Roman numbering. The facsimile and the commentary are contained in a box covered with red canvas and gold hot stamping on the plate.


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