London, British Library, Royal MS 6 E IX
This book was commissioned by the people of Prato, Italy to praise Robert of Anjou, King of Naples, in gratitude for his protection. Across its richly illuminated pages the manuscript draws on a variety of literary themes to honor the king, including scenes from ancient mythology that enjoyed lasting popularity across the Middle Ages and Renaissance. Its depiction of the Seven Liberal Arts personified as women includes Music, shown in a deep blue dress gesturing to a sheet of musical notation containing a short song of praise. With her right hand she points to the words pace Roberti Regis, emphasizing “the peace of Robert the King.” The unusual format and inventive design of the deluxe manuscript are represented beautifully in the facsimile, which allows the monumental figures to be viewed on the same impressive scale as the original book.
This manuscript has been fully digitized and is available at the website of the British Library.