Perspective for Boccaccio

FILOCOLO is a novel by Giovanni Boccaccio based on the then very popular story of Florio e Biancifiore. The most beautiful manuscript of this novel that we know about was made on commission from Ludovico III Gonzaga, Marquis of Mantua, in 1463/64 and is now in the Bodleian Library in Oxford. It has five outstanding illustrations, one for each book. This is one of them:

Maybe the most remarkable thing about this illumination is the perfect yet casual handling of perspective. The unknown artist sets himself an extremely difficult task with the building on the right and handles it well, yet the picture does not degrade into a mere technical exercise. Compare how Pietro Perugino handled perspective in his Delivery of the Keys in the Sistine Chapel nearly twenty years later.

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