One of the treasures of the Library's Spencer Collection, The Medici Aesop is a fifteenth-century Florentine manuscript of Aesop's fables, traced to the library of Lorenzo de' Medici's son Piero and illustrated with exquisite miniature paintings -- among the loveliest in any Renaissance work. Its magnificently illustrated pages feature a rainbow of brilliant colors and elaborate decorations that will dazzle today's reader as they once did the Medicis.
With their conversations between animals, people, and gods and their sharp-edged moral lessons, these fables have been favorites for generations. This new softcover edition contains 139 classic tales, both familiar and less so. Each appears elegantly handwritten in the Greek, alongside an English translation by Bernard McTigue, former Curator of the George Arents Collection and Keeper of Rare Books at The New York Public Library. An introduction by Everett Fahy, Chairman of the Department of European Paintings at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, provides historical background on the development and popularity of Aesop's fables, from their earliest known Greek sources to more recent versions, and on the artistry of the illuminations. An afterword by H. George Fletcher, Brooke Russell Astor Director for Special Collections at The New York Public Library, summarizes recent research on the manuscript's missing folios, its provenance, and the identity of the artist.