The Liber Iesus: a prayerbook for Massimiliano Sforza

The Liber Iesus (Cod. Triv. 2163) is a small parchment codex containing a collection of prayers and short texts prepared for Massimiliano Sforza, son of Ludovico il Moro, in the last five years of the 15th century.  In the clear humanistic script of the text one can recognise the elegant hand of the calligrapher Giovanni Battisti Lorenzi. The decoration was entrusted principally to one artist, who has been identified as the anonymous Master of the Epithalamion of Jason de Mayno. Only in two full page miniatures (The Meeting between Massimiliano Sforza and the Emperor of Austria and Massimiliano Sforza with Count Borella) can one discern the hand of another artist: Boccaccio Boccaccino according to some, Giovanni Antonio Boltraffio according to others. The choice of dedicating both a book of prayers and a Latin grammar to Massimiliano Sforza draws attention to the two areas (religious and civil) in which a good Renaissance Prince and head of state was expected to be educated.

Leaf through the manuscript