(active 1340s in Pisa)

La Somme le Roy

Manuscript (II. VI. 16)
Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale, Florence

This book contains the Italian translation by Zucchero Bencivenni (active at the beginning of the 14th century) of the moral discourse by Laurent de Bois, a Dominican monk. The monk compiled the text in 1279 for the French King Philip III (reigned 12170-1285), whose father confessor he was. This edifying work enjoyed great popularity and was translated into several languages.

The present manuscript, copied in two columns, is decorated with numerous images illustrating and explaining the text. The decoration was executed by three Pisan illuminators in the 1340s or, according to another suggestion, by artists active in or near Florence in the 1370s.

The picture shows the open double page (folios 11v and 12r). The complex border decoration, typical for one of the illuminators, consists of acanthus leaves interspersed with the heads of fantastic animals, with dragons with human faces and with grotesque faces.