The publishing house Salerno Editrice, based in Rome, has just announced the publication of a splendid facsimile of Venice, Bibl. Nazionale Marciana, MS Lat. I 99 (2138), the so-called Breviario Grimani, named after its owner Cardinal Domenico Grimani. The manuscript comprises 832 folios, 28 x 19.5 cm (11 x 7 ¹¹/16); justification: 15.5 X 11.5 cm (6⅛ X 4½ in.); 31 lines of gotica rotunda in two columns; 50 full-page miniatures, 18 large miniatures, 18 small miniatures, 12 bas-de-page calendar miniatures.
The Grimani Breviary is the most elaborate and arguably the greatest work in the history of Flemish manuscript illumination. Purchased by Cardinal Domenico Grimani by 1520 for the enormous sum of five hundred ducats, it brought together the leading illuminators of the time, including the Master of James IV of Scotland (probably Gerard Horenbout), Alexander Bening (the Master of the First Prayer Book of Maximilian?), the Master of the David Scenes in the Grimani Breviary, Simon Bening, and Gerard David. More important, each of these artists created for this manuscript some of his most exquisite and original miniatures.Illuminating the Renaissance: The Triumph of Flemish Manuscript Painting in Europe (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2003), pp. 420-424. One can hear the frustration in their tone when they wrote about the massive amount of work still to be done on this manuscript: 'Indeed, the two-day examination of the manuscript by Maryan W. Ainsworth and Thomas Kren proved woefully inadequate to the task of sorting out all of the stylistic and technical issues that the book raises' (p. 420), a frustration all more acute since the manuscript was not actually displayed in this exhibition.
Critical Inquiry, 17 (1990), 72-107; and see too Sandra Hindman and Nina Rowe, (eds), Manuscript Illumination in The Modern Age: Recovery and Reconstruction (Evanston, Il: Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art, Northwestern University, 2001).
If anyone would like to buy me this facsimile for a birthday or Christmas, or Easter, or really, any other day of the week, please feel free. It is selling, apparently, for €22,000.