An iconographic model of the reconquering of the Iberian peninsula
Universally known as the Parma Ildefonsus, this codex is a copy of the De Virginitate Sanctae Mariae treatise written by Saint Ildefonsus.
This Parmese codex, which was produced in Cluny somewhere between the 11th and 12th centuries, is understood to have been transcribed from a Spanish copy that is believed to have been destined for Bernardo de la Sauvetat, initially a monk in Cluny and later Bishop of Toledo, newly liberated from the infidel occupation. The text is, therefore, connected to the reconquering of the Iberian peninsula. Originally created with the intention of being a unique copy, the codex was subsequently used as an iconographic model for at least one other Toledan manuscript of the 13th century, the Ms.10087 of the Biblioteca Nacional in Madrid. The text, in latin, is distributed over 19 lines per page in Carolingian script and is inserted, along with images, in meandering geometrical and stylised leafy motif frames.
An extraordinary decorative scheme
The illustrative system is exceptional in its complexity: each one of the 222 pages is decorated with the same number of gold, silver and purple frames, differentiated by meandering geometrical and stylised leafy motifs that include both the images, as well as mirror writing. Furthermore it contains: 9 full-page illuminations, 16 half-page illuminations, 8 smaller square-shaped illuminations with busts of the prophets, 8 large initials, set against a purple background and bordered by meandering geometrical and stylised leafy motif frames, 1 illustrated initial representing the author kneeling in front of Christ, 28 simple initials in gold, 10 of which are outlined in red, sub indexes in gold with the same form and type as the main text.
We have 1 facsimile edition of the manuscript "Parma Ildefonsus": Ildefonso da Toledo facsimile edition, published by Il Bulino, edizioni d'arte, 2010