- Wiesbaden, Harrasowitz Verlag, 2020 240x170 mm. XII, 537 pp. Ill. Hardcover.
The Bavarian Duke Albrecht V had a magnificently illuminated manuscript made between 1558 and 1570, which today is one of the Bavarian State Library’s greatest treasures. The codex contains the text and composition of the Penitential Psalms by Orlando di Lasso. The Munich painter Hans Mielich illustrated each of the more than 400 pages, and the scholar Samuel Quicchelberg also wrote explanations of the text and illustrations. The combination of image and music united in the codex, together with Quicchelberg’s commentary, serve to interpret the psalm texts. The result is a "Gesamtkunstwerk" (total work of art) which, according to the concept, fulfils several functions: As a musical manuscript, as a representational object, as an encyclopaedia (the illustrations open up many different areas of knowledge) and as a devotional book that makes a clear commitment to the Catholic faith. This volume, edited by Andrea Gottdang and Bernhold Schmid, brings together contributions from experts in art history, musicology, theology, Latin philology and Bavarian history, who shed light on the diverse functions and complex iconographic programmes of the Penitential Psalm Codex. This probably most beautiful musical manuscript in the world is a document of the first rank in the history of art and culture, which allows us to understand the entire thought cosmos of a 16th-century Catholic ruler.