Cola Rapicano, f. 1451-1488
The first notice of the miniaturist dates back to 1451, a document that cites him as a scribe in the payments of the royal treasury, and in 1456 he is mentioned as miniaturists. Rapicano was at the head of a thriving bottega in the service of Alfonso V and Ferrante d’Aragona in Naples. Almost all the codices in which the style of the miniaturist is recognizable belonged to the Royal Library of Naples. Little is known of the first twenty years of the artist’s activity (1451-1471), of which virtually no evidence remains, until November 6, 1471, when he is identified as a miniaturist for the making of a codex intended to King Ferrante and transcribed by the copyist Giovanni Marco Cinico. The codex contained the work of Andrea Contrario, Reprehensio sive objurgatio in calumniatorem divini Platonis (Paris, Bibliothèque nationale de France, lat. 12947).
The style of Cola was influenced by the frontispieces with bianchi girari and a strong antiquarian flair, as can be seen from the use of the Greek alphabet in the Latin texts, the busts and portraits crafted in the manner of the ancients, reminiscent of the cameos and medals of Pisanello. The putti that illustrate the frontispieces were made in a rather standardized way. From 1467 to 1471, the bottega of the miniaturist dedicated itself to the creation of numerous liturgical books to furnish the new royal chapel, such as the precious Breviary with the coat of arms of Ferrante (Valencia, Biblioteca Universitaria, ms. 890-726). In 1474 the name Rapicano appears in a document related to the codex of Strabo, Geographia (ms. Ott. lat. 1448); In the same period of time the Neapolitan bottega is also involved work for the codex containing the works of Sallustio, which had belonged to the Di Capua family (ms. Chig. H.VI. 188).
DE MARINIS, La biblioteca napoletana, pp. 145-49; GUERNELLI, Un Petrarca miniato, p. 145; TOSCANO, La Bottega di Cola, pp. 385-415; TOSCANO, Rapicano Cola, pp. 893-896.
Chig. H. VI. 188, f. 43r - Ott. lat. 1448, f. 1r