Maestri dello scriptorium di Federico
XV cent. ex
This name was coined by Cecilia Martelli to indicate an anonymous group of illuminators who worked, “probably in the rooms of the same ducal residence” (original text: Martelli, I codici di produzione urbinate, p. 69), on a large number of Urbinati mss. commissioned mostly by Federico da Montefeltro in the years of his duchy (1474-1482; but see Urb. lat. 1221), such as, for example Urb. lat. 401, 402, 403, 405, 406 which contain the works of Enea Silvio Piccolomini (1405-1464; this catalog also includes Urb. lat. 227, 373, 427, 984). These are manuscripts made ex novo, in which the figurative contribution is very limited if not absent; rather, they feature a taste for decoration, the result of a precise creative process. These artists, in fact, combine a series of various elements on the page, introduced to the artistic imagination of Urbino thanks to the most famous illuminators of the time, who were assiduously active in court during those years. It is not strange, then, to identify different cultural sources of reference in these works: a Florentine antiporta, with a larger clipeus, surrounded by floral garlands with golden knobs; the braided loops (nodi) with intense colors typical of Ferrara, especially employed for initials; friezes with bianchi girari, either of the Florentine or Roman style, inhabited by putti and animals. The distinction between decorative and figurative elements also corresponds to an orderly organization of the production process: as was also established elsewhere, important artists were entrusted with the execution of the “figures,” while others dealt with the aniconic or partially aniconic ornamentation. The maestros were also involved in the renovation of some of the oldest manuscripts that Federico had inherited from his grandfather and father: in such cases, the illuminators produced new initials, conforming to the decorative taste in vogue, eliminated the original, and added the crest of Federico (sometimes they simply completed the last task).
MARTELLI, Il Petrarca miniato, pp. 2-22; MARTELLI, The Production of Illuminated Manuscripts, pp. 43-49; MARTELLI, I codici di produzione urbinate, pp. 69-77; MARTELLI, Scheda nr. 8, pp. 169-173.
Urb. lat. 402, f. 5v - Urb. lat. 427, f. 1v
Urb. lat. 405, f. 1r - Urb. lat. 1221, f. 2r
Urb. lat. 403, f. 2r - Urb. lat. 427, f. 2r