Mishneh Torah

Attributed to Master of the Barbo Missal Italian
Author Maimonides
Scribe Nehemiah

Not on view

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.

Mishneh Torah, Attributed to Master of the Barbo Missal (Italian), Tempera and gold leaf on parchment; leather binding, North Italian

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Folios 85v-86r