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Treasures of the Rare Books and Special Collections Library: Manuscripts

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Leonardo Bruni. History of the Florentine people.
Bologna. Late 14th century.
History of the Florentine people. Click to enlarge.                   History of the Florentine people. Click to enlarge.

A notable manuscript in the humanist style. The decoration is minimal, consisting of twelve burnished gold initials, enclosed in white vine decoration, and six lines high, which introduce the various books of the history. . A decorated border and one historiated initial introduce the preface. This depicts the author, Leonardo Bruni, crowned with a laurel wreath and holding an open book. This decoration is characteristic of the school of Antonio del Cherico, an illuminator and artist who was active in Florence between 1452 to 1484.

The explicit, or colophon at the end of the work supplies the researcher with a great deal information. It gives the date the manuscript was completed, 1465, and it also gives the name of the scribe, Amerigo Corsini. Corsini, and his older brother Philip, were active in Florentine humanist circles in the second half of the 15th century. If the date on the manuscript is taken as correct, Corsini would have completed the work when he was 13 years old. This would not be exceptional, since Florentine scribes often learned their trade at an early age.

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