The manuscript 1853 of the Biblioteca Civica in Verona is a parchment illuminated codex, realized during the second half of the 13th century. Its average size is 17 × 24 cm and it is made up of 42 sheets (i.e. 84 pages). The first 2 folios, written in semi-cursive Gothic, contain the Prayer to the Virgin, one of the most ancient lauds in Veronese vulgar. The rest of the manuscript, fully illustrated, contains 2 texts written in rotunda Gothic: the legends of St.George of Cappadocia (ff. 3r-26r) and of St.Margaret of Antioch (ff. 27r-37v). In the end of the codex two full-page illuminations portray Christ Almighty with the four evangelists and St. Christopher.
The artistic importance of the manuscript is due to the 78 extraordinary miniatures that illustrate the legends of St.George and St.Margaret. The result is a wonderful narration in images, the peculiarity of which is the continuous relationship between text and illustrations.
A good 55 miniatures illustrate the legend of the tribune George of Cappadocia, from the moment when he announces his Christian faith to the emperor Dacianus to his beheading, after being tortured for 7 years. The final image of the legend is the most famous one: St.George, on horseback, slays the dragon, kept on a leash by a princess, with his lance. Later, around 1435, Pisanello painted the same scene on his fresco for the church of St. Anastasia in Verona.
Twenty-one miniatures decorate the legend of St. Margaret, a young shepherdess in Antioch with whom Olibrius, the Roman governor, becomes infatuated. The refusal of the girl is considered an act of rebellion against the power of the Roman emperor and therefore she is savagely tortured and sentenced to death. This story has always been one of the favorite subjects in Christian art, both in the East (10th century frescos in the churches of Goreme, in Cappadocia) and the West (the well-known painting of Tiziano, dated 1550).
The edition, authorized by the Biblioteca Civica of Verona, is printed on a specific paper; each folio is cut faithfully copying the edges of the original manuscript. The binding is made of wooden boards covered with red leather with straps and clasps. The commentary, edited by Daniele Bini, contains the complete transcription of the text and essays by Agostino Contò and Giuseppa Z. Zanichelli. Facsimile, commentary and certificate of authenticity are presented in a special case. World limited edition: 600 copies, numbered and certified.