Valentina Cantone
University of Padua

A Study on the Illuminated Manuscripts from the Parchment to the Digital Library Online:
Report on a Project Financed by the European Social Founds

Since the researches of the last century, initials and headpieces in Greek manuscripts have acquired a central position in the studies on Byzantine Art. But, despite a large number of important articles and catalogues published up to date, the problem of Byzantine ornaments on parchment is still offering new perspectives of study.
After a four years long research in the National Library of Venice, it was possible to collect a group of thirty manuscripts from Constantinople datable from the end of the 9th up to the first half of the 11th century which contain decorations in blue and green or blue and gold. With the supervision of Professor Italo Furlan, it was possible to reconstruct the complex artistic koiné of Constantinople during the Macedonian Rule, when the traditional Early Byzantine patterns were rearranged with new models taken from the contemporary Islamic Art. Through the contamination of different artistic sources there was developed a new luxurious and learned style diffused during the 10th century not only in parchment manuscripts decorated for the court of Constantinople, but also on dishes and plates, on architectural ceramics, on brickwork decorations, sculpture, mosaics and jewels realized in the Capital of the Empire, or far from Constantinople, by its craftsmen or under their strong influence.
One of the most interesting manuscript in Blau-Gold Laubsäge-Ornamentik from the Marciana Library is the codex Graecus 360 (696). The Menologion of November in 550 sheets shows a repertory of decorations useful not only to enrich the knowledge on history of Macedonian illumination. In fact, it is possible to demonstrate that the codex Marcianus was realized in the same scriptorium as the Hippiatrika of Berlin, around the middle of the 10th century. The interdisciplinary approach to this important manuscript which could bring new light on a metropolitan scriptorium functioning during the Macedonian Rule is sustained by the study of its artistic patterns but also by a new analysis of the paleographical elements, that is conducted in collaboration with Pasquale Orsini, who is writing with me a monograph on the manuscript of Venice that will be digitalized entirely in order to be published online, thanks to the resources offered by the European Social Founds.