This is a precious illuminated manuscript containing the Vaticinia Pontificum, erroneously attributed to Gioacchino da Fiore. The numerous symbolic portraits of Popes, and the emblematic representations of animals, both real and fantastic, are followed by prophetic writings.
These are both allegoric and mysterious, as shown by the text identifying Urbano VI as the terrible beast of the Apocalypse. The focus of the opera is on the succession of the Popes, and on their responsibilities regarding the fate of the Church.
The text belongs to the tradition of medieval prophetic literature called pseudogioachimita. It describes the Popes – from Nicolò III (1277-1280) to Eugene IV (1431-1447) – without ever mentioning their names.
Those who paid particular attention to the images, and who interpreted the words of the text could easily guess future events.
The Vaticinia were composed during the religious crisis of the end of the 14th Century and the beginning of the 15th. This was a very difficult period for the Church with the Popedom in Avignon, the great schism, the councils of Costanza and Basilea, the Hussite crisis.
The principle of the apostolic continuity was discussed constantly in Europe, hoping for a reform of the Roman Curia. This illuminated codex was the result of the work of two different artists, and was probably composed during the first half of the 15th Century.
The great miniatures illustrating the 30 prophecies can be traced to an illustrator of the north-gothic school, while the Sibilla Persea and Sibilla Libica of the first charts are due to Maestro delle Vitae Imperatorum, present in the court of Filippo Maria Visconti.
The manuscript was part of the collection of the Library of Pelagio Palagi (1775-1860). He was a versatile artist, vastly renowned, and he became court painter for the Savoia.
The book collection of Palagi is one of the most precious of the Biblioteca dell’Archiginnasio in Bologna.
We have 1 facsimile edition of the manuscript "Vaticinia Pontificum, sive Prophetiae Abbatis Joachini": Vaticinia Pontificum de Gioacchino da Fiore facsimile edition, published by AyN Ediciones, 2006