Detail map of Pisa, Toscana, Italy,Chantilly, Hauts-de-France, France Overview map of Pisa, Toscana, Italy,Chantilly, Hauts-de-France, France

A: Pisa, Toscana, Italy, B: Chantilly, Hauts-de-France, France

The Chantilly Illuminated Manuscript of Dante's Inferno

Circa 1345
Chantilly, Mus. Condé (MS 597/1424). Chantilly Inferno.

Chantilly, Mus. Condé (MS 597/1424). Chantilly Inferno.

Along with Yates Thompson MS 36 in the British Library, the Chantilly Inferno (Chantilly, Mus. Condé, MS 597/1424) is considered one of the greatest of the illuminated manuscripts of Dante's Divine Comedy. The Chantilly manuscript was probably created in Pisa about 1345, only a little more than twenty years after Dante may have finished the poem.

The Chantilly Inferno contains the text of the Inferno together with the Latin commentary on the text by the Italian writer Guido da Pisa. It is among the earliest illuminated copies of the Inferno, and the only known illuminated copy of Guido da Piso's commentary. Most of the 55 miniatures in the manuscript accompany the commentary, though their iconography is drawn from the Inferno. The miniatures mainly appear in the lower margins, reflective of one of two types of illustration that were developed in Florence in the 1330s for the illustration of the Divine Comedy. The color palette for these illustrations is limited to browns and grays, and one one episode is depicted in each miniature. The paintings were attributed by art historian Millard Meiss to three or more artists working in the style of Francesco Traini. These artists, Meiss, theorized, had been trained as panel or mural painters.

Grove Encyclopedia of Medieval Art and Architecture II, 18-19.

A digital facsimile of the Chantilly Inferno is available from at this link.

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