The collection ARS ILLUMINANDI propose ancient pasterpieces, preserved in important libraries and museums, in precious and accurate facsimile editions.
Illuminated manuscripts of the Renaissance, portulans and maps representing new discovered lands, relics which only students and researchers can hardly consult, become accessible for the bibliophile by amazing reproductions which are really like a mirror of the original, thanks to masterly use of modern technologies together with hand-made solutions by expert bookbinders who still masters ancient skills and amazing creative solutions.
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Glancing through a facsimile is like walking in a museum, travelling through folios in the fabulous regions of an aristocratic and exquisite art. Even though it really belongs to the world of painting, illumination remains a private kind of art, almost secret, expressly created for the delight of the eyes and the intellect of a single person: sublime object to be paraded, dowry for a princess to marry, book of hours for intimate meditation, historical witness or scientific codex for the scholar; a work which would keep the memory of its owner throughout the centuries, well bound, treasured in the sancta sanctorum of the library.

A facsimile, according to the rules of the Institut International du Livre en Facsimilé, is «a technical and mechanical reproduction of an original bidimensional model, with the aim of reproducing each element of the original, both internal and external, as faithfully as possible, by all the technical means, required to grant the preservation of the original and to spread it to satisfy both scientific and artistic interests. A facsimile has to be realised as best as possible to be able to substitute the original in the scientific research and to meet the requirements of the bibliophiles».

Even though Gutenberg put an end to them over 500 years ago, illuminated books keep their mysterious halo, a myth of inviolability that resists in spite of the increasing knowledge deriving from studies and exhibitions that have been carried out during the last century. This is because not much has changed; maybe just the place where they are treasured, since the private library had to make way for the public one, which has set a limit to their availability for scholars and exhibitions for obvious reasons of preservation.
Therefore, whereas in museums and art cities people can directly admire the masterpieces of painting, sculpture, architecture or of any other expression of human creativity, the illuminated books of the great masters remain reserved, hidden, as a matter of fact inaccessible.

Luckily a new kind of art comes to our aid: the art of facsimile allows us to unveil these extraordinary works otherwise invisible.

The realization of a facsimile illuminated codex – therefore entirely corresponding to the original and to be clearly distinguished from any other kind of reproduction, including the anastatic copy – is, indeed, a real artistic operation, since it implies to think as the author and to use same mastery, although with different means. The very choice of the manuscript to reproduce implies a cultural planning similar to the maecenas’ purposes. The execution is no longer entrusted to the illuminator and the copyist, but to a multi-disciplinary team able to join modern technologies and ancient manual skills to reach a final result worthy of the artistic quality required by the Renaissance clients. Illumination and writing have been replaced by informatic technologies that nevertheless have to be developed and applied not as mechanical means, but, in each folio, with the knowledge and the creativity of the artist; the material is no more parchment, but a peculiar kind of paper which allows the reproduction of the original tactile and chromatic effects through appropriate printing techniques; stitch and binding, still completely hand-made, can only be entrusted to the few expert craftsmen who still master ancient skills and amazing creative solutions.
As illuminators did, the facsimile is realized folio by folio, with the same passion of the people who created the original and with the ambition of reaching the extraordinary quality that allows the facsimile to be compared with the original.

A facsimilar edition is also the best opportunity to study thoroughly the codex within its artistic and historical context. The commentary volume, always presented with the facsimile, is an integral part of it and a necessary tool to “read” the sheets of a stunning artistic adventure.

All our facsimiles – authorized by the Italian Ministry of Culture or by the Institution that houses the original – are exclusive and limited editions. Each copy is numbered and certified to grant the bibliophile and the art connoisseur the personalization of the codex and its intrinsic and material value.
The facsimile edition is therefore the only way to see the invisible and to possess an art treasure.