Bergamo, Biblioteca Civica Angelo Mai, Ms. VII. 14

Sketch Book of Giovannino de Grassi Facsimile Edition

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656

approx US$ 712

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"The Model Book of Giovannino de Grassi" is the best known and most precious manuscript in the "Angelo Mai" Library in Bergamo and is commonly regarded as the most important example of late Italian Gothic art. Created in the late 14th century at the Visconti court, the codex, a so-called model book, comprises 77 drawings and 24 letters of the alphabet in excellent quality.

The artist: Giovannino de Grassi

The master who so perfectly painted the manuscript is Giovannino de Grassi. He was truly a universal artist and a gifted drawer and sculptor as well as the architect of the cathedral in Milan.

At the height of his career Giovannino de Grassi maintained contact with the most famous architects of the central European Gothic cathedrals, including with Heinrich Parler and Ulrich von Einsingen. This reinforced the Lombardian master’s position and probably also led him to produce drawings in which he documented his artistic ideas.

Model books: guiding images of medieval art

Model books of this kind used to be an indispensable aid in every artist’s workshop. They contained artful ornamental elements, perfect calligraphic initials and even animals, since most medieval artists never had the opportunity to study ""exotic"" creatures, such as leopards, gazelles or even lions, in nature.

In order to depict these animals in a realistic way, it was necessary to provide the artist with a model which could be identified without question by the viewer. Model books thus provided exemplary motives, showing both human beings and animals in their typical pose or executing specific activities.

Exemplary models for generations of artists

The model book depicts the most varied types of creatures. Sheeps and lions rest harmoniously side by side while ostriches and porcupines ehile monkeys happily roam among the pages of the manuscript. A very interesting feature is the perfectly drawn groups of humans.

There are women playing the lyre or gathering to read. There is even a sailing boat. Every single page of the model book is a work of art in its own right, so masterly executed that many painters after Grassi used it as a model for their own creations.

The world famous figure alphabet

The five most extraordinary pages of the model book contain Giovannino de Grassi’s famous alphabet. The Gothic letters, so skilfully painted by the master himself, consist of both human and animal figures. Musicians and angels wander through the book, side by side with very realistically sketched lions or bulls.

Popular collector’s items

Given their extraordinary artistic importance and the great influence they would have on the stylistic evolution of art, model books soon became sought after as collector’s items.

The most famous and most important of all is undoubtedly our sketch book by Giovannino de Grassi, particularly due to the uniqueness of its pictures, each of which represents a coherent work of art in its own right.

An Italian "all-rounder" and his model book

Various factors make Giovannino de Grassi’s model book a true milestone in the history of art. Created at the height of his oeuvre at the same time as the cathedral of Milan, it fascinates with its European orientation and its obvious stylistic relationship to other courtly centres of art.

Grassi’s activities as a leading engineer of the cathedral in Milan, as a drawer, designer and sculptor of the late 14th century, distinguish him as an enormously talented and diversified artist. He was open to influences from other great contemporary European styles and at the same time he was a powerful renewer and pioneer of Italian art before the advent of the Renaissance.

We have 2 facsimiles of the manuscript "Sketch Book of Giovannino de Grassi":

#1 Das Musterbuch des Giovannino de Grassi

Lucerne or Munich: Faksimile Verlag, 1998

  • Commentary (German) by Bravi, Giulio Orazio; Recanati, Maria Grazia; Vaccari, Maria Grazia; Montalbano, Letizia; Rossi Scarzanella, Chiara
  • Limited Edition: 333 copies (Co-edition of 999 copies)
  • This facsimile is complete (full-size color reproduction of the whole original document).

"The Model Book of Giovannino de Grassi is reproduced by the Faksimile Verlag in their proven quality. All 62 pages of the codex which dates back to the late 14 century Visconti court are reproduced in the original format of 26 × 18.6 cm to 22.7 × 17 cm. All 77 drawings and the 24 letters of the alphabet are completely true to the original. The leaves are individually trimmed according to the original; the individual gatherings are stitched by hand, as in medieval times without the use of glue. The full set, consisting of a facsimile volume in the velours etui and a commentary volume, is available in a representative book case. The facsimile is published in co-edition and limited to 999 copies worldwide. The German edition reserved for the Faksimile Verlag, exclusively with German commentary, is limited to 333 copies."

Binding

The binding is a faithful imitation of the original binding in stiff cardboard. The model book is protected by an etui of the finest rust coloured velours.

Used and new from

€ 656

approx US$ 712

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#2 Il Taccuino di disegni di Giovannino de' Grassi

Modena: Il Bulino, edizioni d'arte, 1998

  • Commentary (Italian) by Bravi, Giulio Orazio; Recanati, Maria Grazia; Vaccari, Maria Grazia; Montalbano, Letizia
  • Limited Edition: 333 copies (Co-edition of 999 copies)
  • This facsimile is complete (full-size color reproduction of the whole original document).

All 62 pages of the codex which dates back to the late 14 century Visconti court are reproduced in the original format of 26 × 18.6 cm to 22.7 × 17 cm. All 77 drawings and the 24 letters of the alphabet are completely true to the original.

The leaves are individually trimmed according to the original; the individual gatherings are stitched by hand, as in medieval times without the use of glue. The full set, consisting of a facsimile volume in the velours etui and a commentary volume, is available in a representative book case.

Binding

The binding is a faithful imitation of the original binding in stiff cardboard. The model book is protected by an etui of the finest rust coloured velours.

Used and new from

€ 1,250

approx US$ 1,357

Our Price

Only for Registered Users

REQUEST INFO

or Sign Up Free


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