Art/ Collection/ Art Object
{{img.publicCaption}}

Mishneh Torah

Illuminator:
Attributed to Master of the Barbo Missal (Italian)
Artist:
Maimonides (Cordova 1135–1204 Egypt)
Artist:
Nehemiah (active northern Italy, mid-15th century)
Date:
ca. 1457
Geography:
Made in Northern Italy
Culture:
North Italian
Medium:
Tempera and gold leaf on parchment; leather binding
Dimensions:
Binding: 9 7/16 × 8 3/16 × 3 1/4 in. (24 × 20.8 × 8.2 cm) Leaf (of 346 leaves): 8 15/16 × 7 1/4 in. (22.7 × 18.4 cm)
Classification:
Manuscripts and Illuminations
Credit Line:
Jointly owned by The Israel Museum, Jerusalem, and The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 2013. Purchased for the Israel Museum through the generosity of an anonymous donor; René and Susanne Braginsky, Zurich; Renée and Lester Crown, Chicago; Schusterman Foundation - Israel; and Judy and Michael Steinhardt, New York. Purchased for The Metropolitan Museum of Art with Director’s Funds and Judy and Michael Steinhardt Gift
Accession Number:
2013.495
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 306
The Mishneh Torah is the magnum opus of Moses Maimonides, the renowned medieval philosopher. This remarkable text consolidates Jewish law into a systematic, comprehensive and accessible anthology, still consulted by rabbis and scholars today.

This manuscript copy of the Mishneh Torah is one of the most sumptuous ever made. Large illuminations illustrating aspects of the law preface different sections of the book. Law books rarely benefitted from such lavish decoration. With no iconographic precedent to guide him, the painter looked to the world around him. Thus the manuscript provides an opulent guide to contemporary costume, buildings, and customs. With its burnished gold letters and inventive narrative scenes, it attests to the refined aesthetic sensibility of the elite members of Italy’s Jewish community.
Abraham Merzbacher, Munich; donated to Stadtbibliothek, Frankfurt am Main(by 1920–1950); Private Collection, Frankfurt and United States (1950–sold 2007); Mr. and Mrs. Michael Steinhardt(2007–13); Steinhardt Judaica Collection sale, Sotheby's, New York(April 29, 2013, lot no. 55)
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Jerusalem 1000–1400: Every People Under Heaven," September 26, 2016–January 8, 2017.

Adler, Elkan Nathan. About Hebrew Manuscripts. London: Oxford University Press, 1905. pp. 106–107.

Frauberger, Heinrich. Verzierte hebräische Schrift und jüdischer Buchschmuck. Mitteilungen der Gesellschaft zur Erforschung Jüdischer Kunstdenkmäler zu Frankfurt am Main, Vol. 5/6. Düsseldorf: Bagel Verlag, 1909. pp. 26, 37, fig. 27.

Stadtbibliothek, Frankfurt am Main. Handschriften, Einbände, Formschnitte und Kupferstiche des 15. Jahrhunderts, Druckwerke und Einblattdrucke des 15. bis 20. Jahrhunderts. Katalog der ständigen Ausstellung. Frankfurt: Joseph Baer & Co., 1920. no. 6, p. 2.

Schilling, Rosy. Die illuminierten Handschriften und Einzelminiaturen des Mittelalters und der Renaissance in Frankfurter Besitz, edited by Georg Swarzenski. Frankfurt: Joseph Baer & Co., 1929. no. 215, pp. 239–41, pls. LXXVII-VIII.

Encyclopaedia Judaica: Das Judentum in Geschicte und Gegenwart. Vol. 7. Berlin: Eschkol Verlag, 1931. cols. 917–18.

Wischnitzer, Rachel. "Les manuscrits à miniatures de Maimonide." Gazette des Beaux-Arts, 6th ser., 13 (1935). pp. 51–52, fig. 3–5.

Adler, E. N. "Jewish Art." In Occident and Orient: Being Studies in Semitic Philology and Literature, Jewish History and Philosophy and Folklore in the Widest Sense, edited by Bruno Schindler, and Arthur Marmorstein. Gaster Anniversary Volume. London: Taylor's Foreign Press, 1936. p. 44.

Bloch, Joshua, ed. The People and The Book: The Background of Three Hundred Years of Jewish Life in America. New York: The New York Public Library, 1954. no. 31, pp. 66–67.

Narkiss, Bezalel. "An Illuminated Ms. of Maimonides' Code in the JNUL." Kiryat Sefer/ Kirjath Sepher: Bibliographical Quarterly of the Jewish National and University Library 43 (1967–68). p. 298.

Narkiss, Bezalel. Hebrew Illuminated Manuscripts. Encyclopaedia Judaica. New York: Leon Amiel Publisher, 1969. pp. 160–61, pl. 60.

Narkiss, Bezalel. "Illuminated Manuscripts: Hebrew." In Encyclopaedia Judaica. Vol. 8. New York: Macmillan & Co., 1972. col. 1270.

Posner, Raphael, and Yisrael Ta-Shema, ed. The Hebrew Book: An Historical Survey. New York: Leon Amiel Publisher, 1975. p. 58.

Gutmann, Joseph. Hebrew Manuscript Painting. New York: G. Braziller, 1978. pp. 28–29, fig. XVIII.

Fishof, Iris. "'Jerusalem Above my Chief Joy': Depictions of Jerusalem in Italian Ketubot." Journal of Jewish Art 9 (1982). p. 71.

Metzger, Thérèse, and Mendel Metzger. Jewish Life in the Middle Ages: Illuminated Hebrew Manuscripts of the Thirteenth to the Sixteenth Centuries. New York: Alpine Fine Arts Collection, 1982. no. 146, pp. 172, 183, fig. 240, 255.

Mortara Ottolenghi, Luisella. "Miniature Ebraiche Italiane." In Italia Judaica: Atti del I Convegno internazionale. Vol. 1. Rome: Ministero per i Beni Culturali e Ambientali, 1983. pp. 223–24.

Gutmann, Joseph. "Hebrew Illuminated Manuscripts in the Vatican Library." In A Visual Testimony: Judaica from the Vatican Library, edited by Philip Hiat. Miami and New York: Center for the Fine Arts, 1987. p. 29.

Gold, Leonard Singer, ed. A Sign and a Witness: 2,000 Years of Hebrew Books and Illuminated Manuscripts. New York: The New York Public Library, 1988. pp. 60, 166, 202.

Beit-Arie, Malachi. "A Paleographical and Codilogical Study of the Manuscript." In The Rothschild Miscellany: A Scholarly Commentary, edited by Iris Fishof. Jerusalem: Israel Museum, 1989. p. 111 n. 45.

Mortara Ottolenghi, Luisella. "The Illumination and the Artists." In The Rothschild Miscellany: A Scholarly Commentary, edited by Iris Fishof. Jerusalem: Israel Museum, 1989. p. 137.

Beit-Arie, Malachi. The Makings of the Medieval Hebrew Book: Studies in Palaeography and Codicology. Jerusalem: Hebrew University, 1993. p. 199 n. 45, [reprint of Beit-Arié 1989].

Fischer, Franz. "Kontinuität und Neubeginn: die Entwicklung der Stadt- und Universitätsbibliothek Frankfurt am Main 1945-1965." In Die Entwicklung des Bibliothekswesens in Deutschland 1945-1965, edited by Peter Vodosek, and Joachim-Felix Leonhard. Wolfenbütteler Schriften zur Geschichte des Buchwesens, Vol. 19. Wiesbaden: Harrassowitz Verlag, 1993. p. 89.

Richler, Benjamin. Guide to Hebrew Manuscript Collections. Jerusalem: Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities, 1994. pp. 55, 165.

Heuberger, Rachel. Bibliothek des Judentums: die Hebraica- und Judaica-Sammlung der Stadt- und Universitätsbibliothek Frankfurt am Main – Entstehung, Geschichte und heutige Aufgaben. Frankfurt: Vittorio Klostermann, 1996. pp. 121–23.

Mortara Ottolenghi, Luisella. "'Figure e imagini' dal secolo XIII al secolo XIX." In Storia d'Italia, Annali 11: Gli ebrei in Italia. Vol. 2. Turin: G. Einaudi, 1997. p. 985.

Quinzi, Alessandro. "Una Mishneh Torah del Maestro del Messale Barbo e la Collectio Antiquitatum di Giovanni Marcanova." Arte in Friuli, arte a Trieste 21/22 (2003). pp. 91–96.

Roth, Norman. "Maimonides." In Medieval Jewish Civilization, edited by Norman Roth. Routledge Encyclopedias of the Middle Ages, Vol. 7. London: Routledge, 2003. p. 421.

Roth, Norman. "Art, Jewish." In Medieval Jewish Civilization, edited by Norman Roth. Routledge Encyclopedias of the Middle Ages, Vol. 7. London: Routledge, 2003. p. 48.

Heuberger, Rachel. Aron Freimann und die Wissenschaft des Judentums. Conditio Judaica, Vol. 51. Tübingen: Max Niemeyer, 2004. pp. 74–78.

Toniolo, Federica. "Maestro del Messale Barbo." In Dizionario biografico dei miniatori italiani: Secoli IX-XVI, edited by Milvia Bollati. Milan: Edizioni Sylvestre Bonnard, 2004. pp. 621–23.

Raccah-Djivre, Daisy, and Rachel Sarfati, ed. Rome to Jerusalem: Four Jewish Masterpieces from the Vatican Library. Jerusalem: Israel Museum, 2005. p. 2.

Richler, Benjamin, ed. Hebrew Manuscripts in the Vatican Library: Catalogue. Vatican City: Vatican Library, 2008. p. 586.

A Treasured Legacy: The Michael and Judy Steinhardt Judaica Collection. New York: Sotheby's, April 29, 2013. no. 55, pp. 98–108, (withdrawn from sale).

The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "One Hundred Forty-Fourth Annual Report of the Trustees for the Fiscal Year July 1, 2013 through June 30, 2014." Annual Report of the Trustees of the Metropolitan Museum of Art 144 (2014). p. 45.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Recent Acquisitions: A Selection, 2012-2014." The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, n.s., 72, no. 2 (Fall 2014). p. 23.

Boehm, Barbara Drake, and Melanie Holcomb. "Holy War and the Power of Art." In Jerusalem 1000–1400: Every People Under Heaven, edited by Barbara Drake Boehm, and Melanie Holcomb. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2016. pp. 198–99, fig. 70.

Boehm, Barbara Drake, and Melanie Holcomb, ed. Jerusalem 1000–1400: Every People Under Heaven. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2016. no. 64, pp. 146 n. 11, 148.

Stein, Wendy A. How to Read Medieval Art. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2016. no. 13, pp. 11, 12, 61–63, ill. pp. 44–45.



Related Objects

Four Gospels in Armenian

Date: 1434/35 Medium: Tempera and gold on paper; stamped leather binding Accession: 2010.108 On view in:Gallery 300

Spanish Translation of Saint Augustine's "City of God"

Artist: Cano de Aranda (Spanish, active Toledo) Date: 1446–82 Medium: Tempera and gold on parchment, tooled leather binding Accession: X.430.1 On view in:Gallery 20

Jaharis Byzantine Lectionary

Date: ca. 1100 Medium: Tempera, gold, and ink on parchment; leather binding Accession: 2007.286 On view in:Gallery 303

Manuscript Illumination with the Holy Women at the Tomb in an Initial A, from an Antiphonary

Artist: Girolamo dai Libri (Italian, Verona 1474–1555 Verona) Date: ca. 1490–1500 Medium: Tempera, gold, and ink on parchment Accession: 62.122.17 On view in:Gallery 306

Manuscript Leaf with Initial R, from a Gradual

Date: second quarter 15th century Medium: Tempera, ink, and metal leaf on parchment Accession: 28.225.23 On view in:Gallery 306