An exquisite specimen of sixteenth-century Florentine miniature art, conserved at the Biblioteca Riccardiana of Florence, the Capponi-Ridolfi Prayer Book, relives today thanks to Vallecchi, in a precious facsimile edition of only 483 copies.
Capponi and Ridolfi, two historical families of Florence. Aristocrats by birth and politicians by vocation, Gino Capponi and Cosimo Ridolfi belonged to the group of moderate liberals summoned by Leopold II of Lorraine in 1847 to administer the Grand Duchy of Tuscany. Conserved in the Biblioteca Riccardiana and inventoried under number 483, this splendid volume was a wedding gift, which recalls the marriage of two descendants of the illustrious houses in 1500, Niccola di Andrea di Niccola Capponi and Antonia di Battista di Luigi Ridolfi. Of extremely limited dimensions, only a few centimetres each side, and yet of exquisite workmanship, it is one of the smallest prayer books that has come down to the present day. An extreme synthesis of an art by then at its dusk, as was the miniature in the late fifteenth century, this manuscript was commissioned from Monte di Giovanni, one of the greatest Florentine masters of the time, who conferred on its tiny pages, the same breadth found in the tables and large anthem books for public use. We have recreated this wealth and preciousness by using a special parchment paper, on which hot-tooled gold has been applied, using the reverse procedure compared to typographical printing, so as to give the page all of the worn and vibrant naturalness of the backgrounds and the very subtle design of the highlights. Entirely bound and sewn by hand, also due to the total absence of tools capable of offering help in working such small pages, the volume is lined in velvet like the original, while the cut of the pages has gilt embossing, in total philological respect of the work. The volume has a commentary with a study by Giovanna Lazzi, directress of the Biblioteca Riccardiana of Florence, and is contained in an elegant book-shaped case with hot-tooled silver. We propose it to all those who wish to share with us the pleasure of a rare pearl, in a limited and numbered edition of 483 copies.