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Vulgate Bible

Biblia Sacra Latina, Versio Vulgata

Vellum leaf from an illuminated Medieval Manuscript
Italy; Early 14th Century
Latin Text; Transitional Rotunda Script
23.5 by 17 cm

At this period, the St. Jerome Bible was not transcribed as often as one would expect in the country of its origin and the very land which held the seat of the Roman Church. During the greater part of the 13th century, while the popes were greatly concerned with gaining political power, art was at a low ebb in Italy, and religious manuscripts were comparatively few and far inferior to the work of monastic scribes in Germany, France, and England. But with the great wealth accumulating in Italy during the 14th century through commerce and the Crusades, this country soon surpassed in richness as well as in numbers the manuscript output of all other nationalities.

The rich black lettering of this manuscript is in the transitional rotunda script and is excecuted with skill and beauty. It is supplemented by initial letters in rich ultramarine blue and deep cinnabar (vermilion), which colors are reflected in the ornament of the romanesque capitals. All of these factors combine to indicate that the manuscript was executed in central Italy, possibly at Florence.
Keywords: 1300s, Bible, initials, Italy, rotunda, script

Manuscripts | Cary Collection