Officina del Liber visionis Ezechielis, f. 1315-1325
Behind this conventional name lie an artist and his workshop, active in Southern France between the second and third decades of the fourteenth century and connected to the milieu of the Papal Curia in Avignon and to work on texts from a variety of genres, from the classical to legal manuscripts (for examples taken from the previous bibliography, see Bilotta, Un inedito manoscritto, pp. 345-357). The officina (workshop) derives its name from the work that the franciscan, Enrico del Carretto (1270-1323) dedicated to John XXII (1316-1334), namely, the Liber visionis Ezechielis de Rotis known from two copies preserved in Paris, Bibliothèque nationale de France, mss. lat. 12018 e lat. 503 (Gousset, Scheda nr. 87, p. 148) and decorated by this atelier. It develops a taste for designing images that are sometimes complex and innovative in terms of composition (see Theatrum nel ms. Urb. lat. 355), the workshop often used didactic illustrations to show the textual contents of a book with greater immediacy. Equally connotative of his artistic expression was the synthesis between Italianizing ornamental styles and a more distinctly French style, derived mainly from the production of the Languedoc (Manzari, La miniatura ad Avignone, pp. 53-72); this “bilingualism” was a fruit of the peculiar political scenario within which these illuminators found themselves operating: the cosmopolitan papal city on the Rhone. The officina of the Liber continually created backgrounds featuring large initials, emphasized by anthropomorphic, zoomorphic or hybrid tails, an expression of that vast patrimony of the imaginary shared by a large manuscript production from the first Gothic era.
These elements can be observed in manuscripts such as mss. Borgh. 130, Vat. lat. 850 (from f. 61r), Vat. lat. 1650 conserved in the Vatican Library, or in lat. 15415 della Bibliothèque nationale de France, Paris (for all the above, see Manzari, La miniatura ad Avignone, pp. 53-72). One of the latest acquisitions in the catalog of his atelier is ms. Urb. lat. 157, likewise kept in the Vatican Library (Bilotta, Un inedito manoscritto, pp. 345-357; Improta, Urb. lat. 157, in progress).
GOUSSET, Scheda nr. 87, pp. 148; MANZARI, La miniatura ad Avignone, pp. 53-72; BILOTTA, Un inedito manoscritto, pp. 345-357.
Urb. lat. 355, f. 5r - Borgh. 130, f. 1r
Urb. lat. 355, f. 7r - Vat. lat. 1650, f. 3r