Monastery of San Ludovico, Revere (Lombardy), 11 May 1490.
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Letters patent by Giovanni de Sigestro, Vicar General of the minorite friars in the cismontane province, granting lay membership of the order to the Venetian patrician Domenico Tarvisio, his wife Caterina, and their sons and daughters; document on vellum, 17 lines written in a very fine humanist script, dark brown ink, ruled in plummet, five-line illuminated initial ‘M’ in shades of purple, green and blue against a burnished gold ground and with illuminated floral extensions in left-hand and upper margins, signed at foot by Giovanni de Sigestro and with seal of the cismontane minorite friars in red wax attached to the document on two blue, white and yellow cords tipped with metal; creases where folded, a few small stains, small area of loss at foot of seal, but generally in excellent, fresh condition. 235 x 365mm
A beautifully written and illuminated Italian Renaissance charter.
The document addresses Domenico Tarvisio and his family as ‘most devout benefactors of our seraphic prior Francesco’. In recognition of their generosity, the Vicar General of the order, Giovanni de Sigestro, grants them lay membership, full participation in all the sacraments, and the full benefits of all spiritual practices of the order, including masses, fasts, abstinences, pilgrimages, meditations, preaching, confessions and so forth. As a further honour, an obituary announcement will be made for them in the chapter of the order.
The document is signed at the foot by Giovanni de Sigestro (1440–1510).
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in Latin, Deuteronomy 11,24–12,30 and 13,1–14,29; an almost complete leaf written in a good rounded romanesque hand with a strong ‘st’ ligature and both tall and uncial-type ‘d’, double columns of 54 lines, ruled with a hard point, three three-line initials and one two-line initial in red; recovered from use as a binding and with consequent wear and staining, a few small holes, trimmed at head with loss of perhaps two lines, verso worn in places, but generally in very good condition and almost entirely legible. 538 x 367 mm
A very large folio leaf from an Italian giant or ‘Atlantic’ Bible. This genre of romanesque Bible originated in Rome in the mid-eleventh century; the production and diffusion were no doubt due in part to the clerical reforms under Popes Leo IX and Gregory VII. In the early twelfth century manuscript production seems to have shifted somewhat from Rome and southern Umbria to Tuscany, whence the present leaf may originate.
REBUTTAL OF SAVONAROLA BY A FORMER ACOLYTE [SAVONAROLA]. POLITO, Ambrogio Caterino.
Discorso … contra la dottrina, et le profetie di Fra Girolamo Savonarola.
First edition, very rare (‘raro e ricercato’, Bongi), of a condemnation of Savonarola’s theology, doctrine and prophecies by a former Savonarola acolyte, ‘one of the most fiery Catholic polemicists of his times’ (ibid., our translation), who four years earlier had published a confutation of Luther’s theology. The first part examines the attractiveness, plausibility and success of Savonarola’s preaching. Bishop Polito, a member of the same order as the Ferrarese friar, relives the times of his own past sympathies for Savonarola, and offers, with all the benefits of an insider’s outlook, an analysis of the reasons for Savonarola’s rise and popularity. Yet he finds Savonarola’s depiction of a corrupt Church (‘almost embodying the Antichrist, as the Lutherans say’, p. 8v.) grossly misrepresentative, and feels that heresy infiltrates Savonarola’s doctrines much as leprosy affects without remedy a body which might yet appear to have intact parts.