chapter  3
32 Pages

The Illuminated Tacuinum sanitatis Manuscripts from Northern Italy ca. 1380–1400: Sources, Patrons, and the Creation of a New Pictorial Genre

ByCathleen Hoeniger

The Latin translation of an Arabic treatise on curing disease and achieving health through diet, regimen, and lifestyle was the inspiration for a sequence of lavishly illuminated manuscripts produced initially for the Visconti court in Pavia in the last decades of the fourteenth century. The manuscripts are known by the Latin title of the treatise, Tacuinum sanitatis, meaning “table of health.” There are four copiously illustrated Tacuinum sanitatis manuscripts extant from northern Italy, now housed in libraries in Paris, Vienna, Rome, and Liège.1 Most likely, these are all that remain of a larger number, commissioned by wealthy bibliophiles following the lead of the Visconti.2