Domizio Calderini, Commentarii in Satyras Iuvenalis

Florence, Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana, Pluteo 53.2
15th century (1474)

Dedicated to Giuliano de’ Medici, this manuscript containing Calderini’s commentaries on the Satires of Juvenal passed into the possession of his brother Lorenzo after the former had met his death as a result of the Pazzi Conspiracy (1478). It was produced by two prominent members of Cardinal Francesco Gonzaga’s circle, the scribe Bartolomeo Sanvito and the illuminator Gaspare da Padova. They were undoubtedly supervised by Calderini; the manuscript contains a number of marginal annotations in his hand.Depicted on fol. 5r, on display here, is one of the most famous scenes in the history of the illuminated book. The satyrs frolicking in a rural setting are modelled on a Roman sculptural work known as the Satyrs of the Valley, dating to the 2nd century AD and presumed lost; this scene is one of the first indications that it had been rediscovered in the 15th century.