Latin Classics The Evolution and Transmission of Texts of Specific Works [by M. Buonocore]

Maestro del Salomone della Casanatense, sec. XIV med

Among the older collaborators of the well-known miniaturist Cristoforo Orimina, active in the Angevin court of Naples between the second quarter and the third quarter of the fourteenth century, emerges an anonymous but distinct figure, who, thanks to the studies of Francesca Manzari, today is known as the “Maestro del Salomone della Casanatense”. This miniaturist is one of the very few examples that we possess from the Neapolitan book production in the forties of the fourteenth century. The name that was given to the artist comes from a composite manuscript containing a Commentario al Cantico dei Cantici (Roma, Biblioteca Casanatense, ms. 970), in which his hand may be recognized in the full-page miniature of King Solomon enthroned (f. 273v). The corpus of this artist has been more and more enriched in recent studies: so far we may identify his work in at least six codices, while he also was assisted by other collaborators and on several occasions even by Christopher himself. We thus have: the aforementioned Commentary della Casanatense, a copy of De balneis puteolanis (Paris, Bibliothèque nationale de France, lat. 8161), some folios of a Breviary (Madrid, Biblioteca Nacional, Vit. 21-6) and a Psalter (Genève, Bibliothèque publique et universitaire, Comites Latentes 15), a group of illuminated sheets detached from a fragmentary Antiphonary executed for the Certosa di San Martino in Naples in the fifth decade of the fourteenth century (Veroli, Biblioteca Giovardiana, ms. 10), a miscellaneous assortment of Latin and medieval historical texts (ms. Vat. lat. 1860).

The hand of Maestro del Salomone is easily distinguishable in the codices for the types of faces he designs, which have a straight nose and elongated eyes, drawn out hands, with contours of the figures marked in black. He typically adorns the letters with pointed leaves, and employs a bright chromatic range in which blue, pink and orange prevail. The representations of the miniaturist, though he was working in Naples, still reveal his contact with the Umbrian/Abruzzi culture of the first half of the fourteenth century, due to the clear stylistic links with the Graduale illuminated by Guglielmo di Berardo da Gessopalena of 1337 (mss. Capp. Giulia XVII. 2, Capp. Giulia XII.10) and in particular with the miniatures of the Antiphonary of Santa Maria Maggiore in Guardiagrele (codices do not have shelfmarks).

MANZARI, Miniatori napoletani, pp. 116-138; MANZARI, Un libro di storia, pp. 405-416.