13th Century

Vidal Mayor

Vidal mayor: Huesca: Excma. Diputación Provincial, Instituto de Estudios Altoaragoneses, [1989]   2v.
KKT5341 .A173 1989 Special Collections Oversize

The Vidal mayor is a compilation of the law code of the Kingdom of Aragon with commentary. It is important not only for its artistic merit, but for it’s social, political, and religious significance as well. It gives us insight into feudal customs and is important also for its 156 miniatures. The original fourteenth-century manuscript is now owned by the J.P. Getty Museum.

The Getty Museum's manuscript, the only known copy of the law code still in existence, is a translation of Vidal de Canellas's Latin text into the vernacular Navarro-Aragonese language (in that language, the book is called Vidal Mayor in reference to the author). The manuscript's scribe was Michael Lupi de Çandiu, who identifies himself in an inscription and who also may have translated the text.

Not only is the text an important historical document but it is luxuriously illuminated with hundreds of historiated and decorated initials. Although written and illuminated between 1290 and 1310 in one of the major urban centers in northeastern Spain, the elegant style of the painting reveals an intimate link with contemporary French illumination. This stylistic connection demonstrates the increased movement of both artists and manuscripts from one European court to another.

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