Ducal coat of arms
quarterly, in the first and fourth sections gold background with black crowned eagle, banded in the second and third of blue and gold with the black eagle in the first golden bend, with red pale and crossed pontifical keys capped with the tiara
Following his appointment as gonfaloniere of the Holy Roman Church and the elevation to the title of duke by Sixtus IV in August of 1474 (for the date see Cappellini, Araldica Feretrana, p. 81 and ntt. 33-36), Federico added the pale of the Church to the quarterly coat of arms and pontifical insignia, the keys of St. Peter, one gold and the other silver, tied with a red cord and with the top piece pointing upwards, arranged in the cross of St. Andrew, capped with the papal tiara from which the two lappets hang.
The high dignity of duke confirms the political power of Federico, who changes his coat of arms, such that it often becomes marked by the initials in capital letters FD, or sometimes by FE DUX for Federicus Dux (replacing those used up until that point, FC for Federicus Comes). The coat of arms can also be found surmounted by the ducal crown (as in manuscripts Urb. lat. 1, f. 201r; Urb. lat. 324, f. 1r; Urb. lat. 326, f. 1r; Urb. lat. 337, f. 1r, where in the first and fourth quarters the eagle is not crowned), which can also be found as an element independent of the emblem (for example in Urb. lat. 1, ff. 167r, 207r).
Urb. lat. 324, f. 1r - Urb. lat. 337, f. 1r
The change of status and the acquisition of the important ducal investiture are recorded and celebrated both in the decorations of the Ducal Palace and in that of the valuable illuminated manuscripts belonging to the duke due to the widespread presence of the new coat of arms. It constitutes a terminus post quem that allows for dating the manuscipts after 1474 (for the abbreviations FC and FD as elements of dating inside the Urbino Palace, see Rotondi, Il palazzo ducale, pp. 113-118; on the ducal coat of arms and its use by Federico’s son, Guidobaldo, see Clough – Conti, Guidobaldo da Montefeltro, pp. 115-136).
In manuscripts of luxury and those that were particularly important, the patron is exalted with particular magnificence, that is, a variety of emblems are present in the decoration: all the coats of arms, that of Montefeltro, bendy, quarterly and ducal, as if in a heraldic parade. In the sumptuous dedication of the Historiae Florentinae of Poggio Bracciolini, donated by his son Jacopo to Federico and in all probability made before 1474, both the bendy coat of arms (Urb. lat. 491, ff. 1r, 5r) and the quarterly one (Urb. lat. 491, f. [II]v) are represented. Other manuscripts that contain both of them include Urb. lat. 9 (bendy coat of arms on f. [II]v, quarterly on f. 1r) and Urb. lat. 420 bendy and quarterly coat of arms on f. 1r, which is also characterized by having the order of the bands inverted, gold-blue and not blue-gold, along with a double eagle in the bend).
Urb. lat. 491, f. 1r
In the Urbino Bible, dated 1477-1478, after the conferral of the ducal title, the following coats of arms were made with a lavish combination of extraordinarily rich and sophisticated decorations: bendy (Urb. lat. 1, ff. 97v, 223v; Urb. lat. 2, f. 119r), quarterly (Urb. lat. 1, ff. 2r, 68r), ducal (Urb. lat. 1, ff. 1v, 108r, 201r, surmounted by a crown; note also the ducal crown as an independent element on f. 167r; Urb. lat. 2, ff. 2r, 40r, 50v, 68r, 89r, 155r, 163r, often surmounted by a crown).
Urb. lat. 1, f. 97r - Urb. lat. 2, f. 119r
Urb. lat. 1, ff. 2r and 108r
Urb. lat. 1, f. 108r - Urb. lat. 2, f. 68r