Photo © The Israel Museum, Jerusalem, by Ardon Bar-Hama
Digital photography funded by Michael and Judy Steinhardt, New York
Mishneh Torah (Books 7 to 14) by Maimonides
Northern Italy
ca. 1457–65
Scribe: Nehemia
Handwritten on vellum; brown ink, tempera, gold leaf; semi-cursive Ashkenazic script
H: 22; W: 17.6 cm
Extended loan from Michael and Judy Steinhardt, New York
Accession number: L-B07.0010 ; 180/126
 
 
This manuscript is one of a very few illustrated copies of the monumental code compiled by Maimonides (Moses ben Maimon, 1135–1204), the great Jewish philosopher, physician, and legal authority. Illuminated with burnished gold leaf, the colorful, detailed title panels that open the text’s different Books depict a variety of legal subjects. Thus, for example, the opening of the Book of Judges shows a guilty man being brought before the Rabbinic court of the Sanhedrin, with the scenery and dress reflecting contemporary Renaissance Italy. The great artistry of these depictions and of the volume’s smaller panels indicates that the manuscript was decorated in one of the finest workshops of miniature painting in Northern Italy.


Digital presentation of this object was made possible by: The Ridgefield Foundation, New York, in memory of Henry J. and Erna D. Leir