The Library of a 'Humanist Prince' Federico da Montefeltro and His Manuscripts [by M.G. Critelli]

Maestro del Curzio Rufo Urbinate

XV cent. ex

An anonymous illuminator, as called by Cecilia Martelli, who identifies his activity in the hub of the so-called Maestri dello scriptorium urbinate. The eponymous ms. is the Urb. lat. 427, which contains the De gestis Alexandri Magni by Curtius Rufus, through which it is possible to establish a rather noticeable catalog of manuscripts that may be attributed to this artisan. The catalog concerns Urbinati mss., such as Urb. lat. 401, 402, 403, 405, 406, which share a common language based on the repetition of some stylistic elements; in fact, the Maestro adopts a series of elements of different origins mixed together on the page in a sort of well orchestrated and original patchwork visible in its final form: the Florentine antiporta, with a larger clipeus bordered by a floral garland with decorative golden knobs; the braided loops (nodi) with intense colors typical of Ferrara especially for initials; the friezes with bianchi girari, of either Florentine or Roman style, inhabited by putti and animals; and again the alternation between laurel and red berries in the crowns, the cornucopias laden with fruit, the precious settings. In addition to the manuscripts already mentioned, the Maestro also works on the famous Vitr. 22-1 of Madrid, Biblioteca Nacional de España, containing the Rerum vulgarium fragmenta and the Triumphi of Petrarch, made especially for Federico da Montefeltro, in collaboration with Bartolomeo della Gatta, who attended to the figurative parts.

MARTELLI, Il Petrarca miniato, pp. 2-22; MARTELLI, The Production of Illuminated Manuscripts, pp. 41-49; MARTELLI, I codici di produzione urbinate, pp. 69-77; MARTELLI, Scheda nr. 8, pp. 169-173.