La storia nei margini : i disegni dell'Orosio Vat. lat. 3340 tra eredità tardoantica e creazione medievale

Title: La storia nei margini : i disegni dell'Orosio Vat. lat. 3340 tra eredità tardoantica e creazione medievale
Variant title
History on margins : the drawings of the Orosius Vat. lat 3340 between Late Antique heritage and medieval creation
Příběhy psané in margine : kresby v Orosio Vat. lat. 3340 mezi pozdně antickým dědictvím a středověkou tvorbou
Author: Orofino, Giulia
Source document: Convivium. 2016, vol. 3, iss. 1, pp. 122-135
  • ISSN
    2336-3452 (print)
    2336-808X (online)
Type: Article
License: Not specified license
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The Historiae adversus paganos by Paulus Orosius was one of the most widely read and studied works of the Middle Ages; it was also one of the least illustrated. Vat. lat. 3340 is the earliest-known example of the Orosius pictus. It was copied in the Beneventan script and illustrated with 77 marginal drawings accompanied by explanatory annotations. The manuscript poses a series of as yet unanswered questions. Were the illustrations planned at the time of the codex's creation, or were they added later? When and where were they executed? Are these work copies or originals? The rather muddled mise en page and often weak relationship of image to text – which makes reading a challenging task –, seem to suggest a misalignment between the narrative and accompanying illustrations. If we accept that Vat. lat. 3340 was produced at Montecassino before 1075, the drawings must date (at least) to the first thirty years of the twelfth century. The drawings bear no resemblance to miniatures produced at Montecassino at the time the manuscript was produced. The only possible comparisons that can be drawn are with the carved ivory plaques produced in the same period on Campania's Tyrrhenian coast. In any event, wherever the creator of the illustrations worked, clearly he was not an amateur, as David Ross (1953) has noted. It is impossible to prove that the drawings were copied in totality from an earlier version of the Historiae; neither can it be shown that entire blocks of images "migrated" from other illustration traditions. There are hints, however, that suggest an adaptation of Late Antique models in Orosian drawings, particularly in the rendering of individual iconographic schemes and the narrative strategies employed.
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