The extraordinary collection of medieval codices conserved in the Biblioteca Riccardiana of Florence includes a parchment manuscript, inventoried under number 323 and better known as the Psalter of Frederick II. Our publishing house, Florentine by birth and viably by vocation, has reproduced an edition with the title of Libro dei Salmi di Federico II (Book of Psalms of Frederick II). We have decided to present the little jewel, probably illuminated in some scriptorium of Asia Minor around 1235-1237, to a public of bibliophiles and art lovers as a homage to a historical figure that has left numerous and illustrious signs also in Tuscany. Eminent German scholar Hugo Buchthal, author of a fundamental study on the codex, written in the mid 1950s, tells us that the work was commissioned by the Swabian emperor as a wedding gift for his third wife Isabella of England, daughter of king John Lackland and sister of Henry II Plantagenet, whom he married at Worms on July 20, 1235. The preparations for the wedding were solemn; the sumptuous dowry consisted of caskets of gold, jewels, necklaces, tableware, and furnishings, and most likely also included the psalter intended to accompany the empress in her daily prayers. Worthy of its imperial buyer, the very precious codex strikes the eye for the chromatic wealth of its miniatures, the gold grounds that make them resemble mosaics, the brightness of colours, and an almost enamelled surface. We have sought to render this brilliance in the reproduction by adopting a special printing technique with stochastic cross-hatching that makes it possible to obtain a continuous tone of colouring, rendering colours and details with a photographic quality. The successive application of gold dust has made it possible to reproduce, as faithfully as possible, the almost chalky characteristics of gold applied with a brush on the codex sheets, while the natural parchment used to line the book boards renders the medieval flavour of the original binding, unfortunately lost, which was duplicated in the 1800s and still today protects the volume. Published in collaboration with the Biblioteca Riccardiana, the reproduction is accompanied by a commentary that leads the reader by the hand to the rediscovery of its thousand treasures. We have entrusted the historical profile of the figure of Frederick II to the pen of professor Franco Cardini, eminent medievalist of international renown, while the description of the manuscript and comments on the iconography of its tables result from the painstaking dedication of Dr. Giovanna Lazzi, director of the library.
Format: 16 x 22 cm Pages: 360 Print Run: 300 Arabic numerals and 200 Roman numerals.