International conference

Medieval Charm: Illuminated Manuscripts for Royal, Aristocratic, and Ecclesiastical Patronage

organized by Stefano U. Baldassarri, Francesca Marini, Florence Moly

Among the main goals of this conference at ISI Florence is increasing knowledge of medieval and Renaissance illuminated books, especially luxury manuscripts. As part of investigating issues linked with the iconography, patronage, collection, production, exchange, and costs of illuminated manuscripts, the papers will focus on topics such as:

  • The making of illuminated manuscripts and the collecting habits of European courts, including the Visconti-Sforza in Lombardy, Alfonso V of Aragon, and Charles V of France.
  • Luxury books commissioned by either aristocrats or clergy in Catalonia and those produced for such important ecclesiastical institutions as the Opera del Duomo in Florence.
  • Iconographic themes that medieval and Renaissance culture considered crucial to religious ideology, such as Paradise from the Divine Comedy illustrated by the Sienese Giovanni di Paolo.
  • Finally, an evaluation of female patronage of illustrated manuscripts through examples such as The Book of Hours of Joana of Castile and the so-called "Alphabet" of Mary of Burgundy.


The conference will thus adopt a variety of scholarly approaches to promote a fruitful interdisciplinary exchange that may stimulate dialogue on the social and economic background of luxury manuscripts in medieval and Renaissance Europe. To this purpose, particular attention will be given to the role played by the patrons who commissioned such works, their manner of choice for the artists as well as the iconographic programs used on the basis of the specific historic and geographic contexts for the splendid illuminated manuscripts of the perio.


International Studies Institute (Florence), Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz - Max-Planck-Institut, Istituto Universitario Olandese di Storia dell'Arte (Firenze), Biblioteca Riccardiana (Firenze), Universitat de Lleida and Crédit Agricole – France


In cooperation with
Supported by

20 October 2015


International Studies Institute
Via della Vigna Nuova 18
50123 Firenze


This event will be documented photographically and/or recorded on video. Please let us know if you do not agree with the Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz using images in which you might be recognizable for event documentation and public relation purposes (e.g. social media).


Our Newsletter provides you with free information on events, tenders, exhibitions and recent publications from the Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz.

If you would like to receive our newsletter, please enter your name and e-mail address:

*required field

Notes on the content of the newsletter and transit procedures

This letter is sent via MailChimp, where your e-mail address and name will be saved for sending the newsletter.

Once you have completed the form, you will receive a "Double-Opt-In-E-Mail," in which you are asked to confirm your registration. You can cancel your subscription to the Newsletter at any time ("Opt-out"). You will find an unsubscribe link in every Newsletter and in the Double-Opt-in-E-Mail.

You will receive detailed information about transit procedures and your withdrawal options in our privacy policy.