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Facsimiles of Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts

The Vatican Film Library holds more than 200 full or partial facsimiles of medieval and Renaissance manuscripts. A manuscript facsimile is a published, printed photographic reproduction that captures and faithfully recreates the physical details of an original manuscript—some to the level of reproducing holes in the parchment of the original manuscript and even its binding.

Such facsimiles give researchers and students the opportunity to experience how medieval and Renaissance manuscripts functioned as complete books, rather than viewing only selected pictures from it. They reveal how text and image work together and they facilitate the study of scripts, layout, decoration, and illumination. As tools for research and teaching they are of great use and importance. Some of our most detailed examples are facsimiles of the ninth-century Book of Kells, a fourteenth-century copy of Dante’s Divina Commedia, and the fifteenth-century Rothschild Miscellany. For a complete listing of manuscript facsimiles in the collection, browse the catalog.