Skip to content
Register Sign in Wishlist

Learning through Images in the Italian Renaissance
Illustrated Manuscripts and Education in Quattrocento Florence


  • Author: Federico Botana, Institute of English Studies, School of Advanced Study, University of London
  • Date Published: July 2020
  • availability: Available
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781108491044
Average user rating
(1 review)

£ 75.00

Add to cart Add to wishlist

Other available formats:

Looking for an inspection copy?

This title is not currently available on inspection

Product filter button
About the Authors
  • For the affluent merchant class of fifteenth-century Florence, the education of future generations was a fundamental matter. Together with texts, images played an important role in the development of the young into adult citizens. In this book, Federico Botana demonstrates how illustrated manuscripts of vernacular texts read by the Florentine youth facilitated understanding and memorisation of basic principles and knowledge. They were an important means of acquiring skills then considered necessary to gain the respect of others, to prosper as merchants, and to participate in civic life. Botana focuses on illustrated texts that were widely read in Quattrocento Florence:  the Fior di virtù (a moral treatise including a bestiary), the Esopo volgarizzato (Aesop's Fables in Tuscan), the Sfera by Goro Dati (a poem on cosmology and geography), and mathematical manuals known as libri d'abbaco. He elucidates, in light of original sources and medieval and modern cognitive theory, the mechanisms that empowered illustrations to transmit knowledge in the Italian Renaissance.

    • Discusses important late medieval Tuscan vernacular texts which have not received as much attention in recent years.
    • Investigates in detail illustrations in manuscripts of texts treating a range of subjects from religion to mathematics.
    • Includes detailed archival information on manuscript owners and their families in fifteenth-century Florence
    Read more

    Reviews & endorsements

    '…[Botana's] thoroughly researched study of illustrated pedagogical manuscripts uncovers a scholarly diet that was diverse, popular and above all practical, arising from the smut and noise of the urban street and the pragmatic requirements of business and civic life. ... Florence and its books, Botana shows, brimmed with character and life …' James Waddell, The Times Literary Supplement

    Customer reviews

    04th Feb 2021 by Litee

    i want to learn English to past the exams and maker more native friends.

    Review was not posted due to profanity


    , create a review

    (If you're not , sign out)

    Please enter the right captcha value
    Please enter a star rating.
    Your review must be a minimum of 12 words.

    How do you rate this item?


    Product details

    • Date Published: July 2020
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781108491044
    • length: 340 pages
    • dimensions: 259 x 183 x 21 mm
    • weight: 0.85kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Editorial note
    1. Introduction
    2. Two youths
    3. Mental images
    4. Virtues, sins, and the senses in the fior di virtù
    5. Serving the state in the fior di virtù
    6. Dealing with others in the esopo volgarizzato
    7. The flesh in the fior di virtù and the esopo volgarizzato
    8. Mathematics, body, form, and metaphor in libri d'abbaco
    9. The cosmos in goro dati's sfera
    10. Navigation and geography in the sfera
    11. Conclusion

  • Author

    Federico Botana, Institute of English Studies, School of Advanced Study, University of London
    Federico Botana is an art historian who specialises in the art of fourteenth- and fifteenth-century Italy. Previous publications include The Works of Mercy in Italian Medieval Art (2012) and several academic articles on illuminated manuscripts. His main research interest concerns the didactic uses of images, especially manuscript illustrations and mural painting. 

Sorry, this resource is locked

Please register or sign in to request access. If you are having problems accessing these resources please email

Register Sign in
Please note that this file is password protected. You will be asked to input your password on the next screen.

» Proceed

You are now leaving the Cambridge University Press website. Your eBook purchase and download will be completed by our partner Please see the permission section of the catalogue page for details of the print & copy limits on our eBooks.

Continue ×

Continue ×

Continue ×
warning icon

Turn stock notifications on?

You must be signed in to your Cambridge account to turn product stock notifications on or off.

Sign in Create a Cambridge account arrow icon

Find content that relates to you

Join us online

This site uses cookies to improve your experience. Read more Close

Are you sure you want to delete your account?

This cannot be undone.


Thank you for your feedback which will help us improve our service.

If you requested a response, we will make sure to get back to you shortly.

Please fill in the required fields in your feedback submission.