Legend of Saint Margaret


Legend of Saint Margaret

Italian, 15th century

Language: Italian

University of Portland, Clark Library


Diebold, William. The Illustrated Book in the Age of Printing: Books and Manuscripts from Oregon Collections. Portland, OR: Douglas F. Cooley Memorial Art Gallery, 1993, cat. no. 7, p. 19 - Quoted with permission

This manuscript is contemporary with numbers 2, 3, 4, and 5 [reference applies to exhibition from which this text was originally a catalog entry] and, like them, was made in Italy. Its text, however, is not pagan but Christian, not classical but medieval: the life of St. Margaret of Antioch, a Christian saint very popular in the Middle Ages. Unlike the other manuscripts in this section of the exhibition, this book's text is not Latin, the language of the Humanists, but in the Italian vernacular. The difference in language and function is apparent in the book's appearance. By the fifteenth century, manuscript makers had devised an elaborate system of scripts, each considered appropriate for a particular kind of text. Rather than the rounded Humanist miniscule of the other manuscripts on this table (or of the script's printed version, the Roman type used in number 20, immediately to the left), the text and the simple initials in gold paint of this manuscript are in the Gothic style.