The Urbino Bible, commissioned by Federico da Montefeltro, Duke of Urbino, in the late 15th Century, is a stunning work of art in its own right. The Urbino Bible is one of the rare examples of artistic collaboration in Florence during this time period.
This splendid manuscript, without a doubt a Florentine miniature masterpiece of the Renaissance, was commissioned by Federico at the working studio of Vespasiano da Bisticci, the renowned Florentine bookseller who was the primary provider of manuscripts for the Urbino library.
The original Urbino Bible is divided into two books. The volumes are particularly important for the richness of their illustrations. Hugo de Cominellis or Hugues de Comminellis de Mazieres, who was also responsible for other books commissioned by Federico, has been identified as the scribe of these volumes. The copy is a transcription of the canonic text of the Vulgate.
Scholars have identified the hands of a number of different artists who cooperated in decorating these volumes, among them, panel painters, fresco painters and miniature painters. The artists involved in these splendid decorations include Attavante, the Master of the Hamilton Xenophon, Francesco Rosselli, the brother of the most famous Cosimo, Francesco d’Antonio del Chierico, to whom we owe the greatest number of the illustrations, Biagio d’Antonio, Bartolomeo di Giovanni and David and Domenico Ghirlandaio.
Federico, nicknamed “the Light of Italy”, is a landmark figure in the history of the Italian Renaissance. He imposed justice and stability on his tiny state. He engaged the best copyists and editors in his private scriptorium to produce the most comprehensive library outside of the Vatican. He was a staunch supporter in the development of fine artists, including the early training of the young painter Raphael.
Despite his privileged rank, Federico always remained interested in the average citizen. He took care of soldiers who might be killed or wounded, providing, for example, dowries for their daughters. He often strolled the streets of Urbino unarmed and unattended, inquiring in shops and businesses as to the well-being of the citizens. He held to the belief that all citizens, regardless of rank, were equal under the law.
Celebrate Your Faith is proud to offer a very limited number of this rare Bible for sale. Additionally, the painstaking reproduction of this masterpiece is adorned and jeweled on the exterior cover to create an exclusive version not found anywhere else. The brilliant gemstones and meticulous detailing add a truly remarkable quality to this extraordinary find. Reserve your copy today!
To learn more about Federico da Montefeltro, visit Federico da Montefeltro on Wikipedia
To read about and see excerpts from treasures of the Vatican Library, including the Urbino Bible, visit The European Library
See some of the amazing work in this Bible below. Click on any of the images to see a larger one.
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The San Damiano Cross is the large Romanesque rood cross that St. Francis of Assisi was praying before when he received the commission from the Lord to rebuild the Church. The original crucifix was painted by an unknown Umbrian artist in the twelfth century.
The San Damiano Cross is rich with symbolism based on the elaborate imagery contained in this icon. The cross is called an icon cross because it contains images of people who have a part in the meaning of the cross.
Below are some selected highlights along with reflection Scriptures to consider.
The central element of the San Damiano Crucifix is the figure of Christ. It is not the body of a corpse, but of God Himself, incorruptible unto eternity and the source of life, radiating the hope of the Resurrection. Christ is a figure of light dominating the scene and giving light to the other figures. Christ stands upright, not nailed. The eyes of Jesus are open: He looks out to the world, which He has saved. He is alive, the one who is eternal.
“Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, ‘I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.’” John 8:12 NKJV
The Hand of the Father:
From within the semi-circle at the very top of the Icon, He whom no eye has seen reveals Himself in a benediction. This blessing is given by the right hand of God with the finger extended – the Holy Spirit. The Father gives the gift of the Holy Spirit to all because of the merits of the Christ’s Passion.
“And being assembled together with them, He commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the Promise of the Father, ‘which,’ He said, ‘you have heard from Me; for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.’” Acts 1:4-5 NKJV
The Astonished Angels:
Around the crossbar of the cross, there are two groups of angels – animatedly discussing the scene unfolded before them.
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” John 3:16 NKJV
The Centurion of Capernaum:
To the right of the Cross stands the Centurion. He holds a piece of wood in his left hand, indicating his building of the Synagogue (Luke 7:1-10). The little boy beyond his shoulder is his son healed by Jesus. The three heads behind the boy show “he and his whole household believed” (John 4:45-54). He has extended his thumb and two fingers, a symbol of the Trinity, while his two closed fingers symbolize the hidden mystery of the two natures of Jesus the Christ. “Truly He is the Son of God” (Mark 15:39).
“Jesus said to him, ‘Go your way; your son lives.’ So the man believed the word that Jesus spoke to him, and he went his way. And as he was now going down, his servants met him and told him, saying, ‘Your son lives!’ Then he inquired of them the hour when he got better. And they said to him, ‘Yesterday at the seventh hour the fever left him.’ So the father knew that it was at the same hour in which Jesus said to him, ‘Your son lives.’ And he himself believed, and his whole household.” John 4:50-53 NKJV
Also to the right of the Cross stands Mary Magdalene, she who loved the Lord so sincerely that she would not even abandon Him at His grave. Listening intently to Mary Magdalene is Mary Clopas, another woman who came to the tomb with Mary Magdalene, to anoint the dead body of the Lord. These two women typify an intense and courageous devotion that persists no matter how difficult life may become.
“For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:38-39 NKJV
In the red border around the cross are scrolls that recall tendrils of vines. They bring to mind Christ’s admonition that He is the vine while we are but branches. To bear fruit, we must remain in Him.
“‘I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.’” John 15:5 NKJV
Near the border of the Cross on the right, just below the level of Christ’s knees, you will find a small rooster. Firstly, this recalls the denial of Peter, who wept bitterly, and reminds us that we should not be presumptuous of the strength of our faith. Secondly, the rooster proclaims the new dawn of the Risen Christ, the true light (1 John 2:8).
“Again, a new commandment I write to you, which thing is true in Him and in you, because the darkness is passing away, and the true light is already shining.” 1 John 2:8 NKJV
“But for you who fear My name, the Sun of Righteousness shall arise with healing in His wings” Malachi 4:2 NKJV
For further explanations into the meanings of these and many other symbols and icons on the San Damiano Cross, please visit any of the following websites:
Celebrate Your Faith sells Italian crafted replicas of the original cross in sizes ranging from 3-29 inches. These are reproductions of the original that hangs in Santa Chiara (St. Clare) Church in Assisi, Italy. Along with this, we have many other Wall Crosses.
On May 2, 2011 the world will celebrate the 400th Anniversary of the King James Bible. The history surrounding the publishing of this version of the Bible showed a hunger by the people to have the unadulterated Word of God accessible to them on a daily basis so they could commune with God and know Him through His Word.
The King James Version, or Authorized Version, of the Bible was commissioned at a time of Renaissance of literature and language in England, which led to a translation rich with the rhythms and beauty of Elizabethan poetry and drama. At the same time, the relatively new technology known as the printing press was seen as a means with which to open up accessibility to the Scriptures to ordinary Christians on a massive scale for the first time in history.
“There is no doubt in my mind that the King James Bible not Shakespeare set this language on its path to become a universal language on a scale unprecedented before or since.” – Melvyn Bragg, British Author and Broadcaster
The King James Version (KJV) of 1611, also known as “the people’s Bible”, became an enduring work in an age when religion mattered to almost everyone in a way that is difficult to appreciate today. When people believed in God and what the scriptures taught, Christian beliefs were part and parcel of daily life. It mattered what was taught and understood. It mattered what people really believed. It influenced their lives, their attitudes and their actions – from the highest in the land to the lowliest man or woman. The KJV had an enormous effect on peoples’ lives; its language and terminology may seem archaic today but it was the everyday parlance of ordinary people and its language became entwined into English literature over many generations, not just in England but wherever the Bible was carried into what has become the English-speaking world, and is with us today. (KJV Development)
“The King James Bible is a cornerstone of our culture and our language. Whatever our faith, whatever we believe, we have to recognise that the rhetorical power of this book, and in particular its power to fuse history with poetry, connects at the most fundamental level with our own history and poetry.” – Andrew Motion, Poet Laureate of the United Kingdom, 1999-2009
A Timeline of Events leading up to the publishing of the King James Version
- 1601 – 16 May, a meeting of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland took place in the Parish Church of Burntisland, Fife, attended by King James VI of Scotland. It was at this meeting that the proposal to have a new translation of the Bible was first discussed.
- 1603 – James VI of Scotland became James I, King of England
- 1604 – The Hampton Court Conference on the future of the church; at this conference it was decided to commission a new translation of the Bible in an effort to provide a new translation which would be acceptable to everyone. The issue of too many marginal notes in the Geneva Bible became a rallying point for the adoption of the following resolution: “That a translation be made of the whole Bible, as consonant as can be to the original Hebrew and Greek; and this to be set out and printed, without any marginal notes, and only to be used in all churches of England in time of divine service.” King James I and Richard Bancroft, Bishop of London, later to become Archbishop of Canterbury, drew up instructions for the translators which would ensure that the new version would conform to the theology of the Church of England.
- 1610 – Meeting to discuss the translation at the Stationers Hall, City of London. Building on the advances in Hebrew and Greek scholarship, together with the insights of previous translators, the translation teams produced a remarkably rich and resonant version, which was to serve for public readings in churches as well as private devotional reading. The Bishop of Gloucester, Miles Smith, wrote the Preface, which acknowledged the new translation’s debt to its predecessors, but set out the hope that “out of many good ones” there would now be “one principal good one” used by everyone.
- 1611 – The King James Bible was published, despite considerable problems printing it.
- 1620 – The Pilgrim Fathers set sail to America, taking the English Bible with them. This was an immensely important step in the diffusion of the bible world-wide, which was further enhanced by its use during the expansion of British influence across the world with the East India Company, the establishment of colonies in Africa, and the discovery of Australia and New Zealand.
Four hundred years later, the King James Version of the Bible continues to inspire people from all walks of life and faith traditions and is regarded as the most influential book ever published in the English language. H.L. Mencken, a 20th Century American writer, praised it as “probably the most beautiful piece of writing in all the literature of the world.”
Celebrate Your Faith has a number of special 400th anniversary products in our Bible Boutique to celebrate this milestone. Remember, we can personalize any of these Bibles for you, for a gift, or any special occasion!
This beautifully crafted family Bible will become a treasured heirloom for generations to come! This new edition contains a special full-color celebration of the 400th anniversary of the King James Version. Bonded brown leather.
This two volume set contains the New King James Version and the original KJV 1611 edition. This version has authentic spellings, capitalization, and punctuation used by the 1611 translators themselves, before centuries of changes began to occur. Set in roman type for easier reading, it includes the original notes, references, and books of the Bible, including the Apocrypha, as in 1611.
The most comprehensive King James Version study Bible published in 50 years, The King James Study Bible has 2,000-plus pages packed with thousands of notes and commentaries from respected conservative scholars. Also includes a 24-page full-color historical booklet commemorating the 400th anniversary of the King James Version.
This KJV 400th Anniversary Bible celebrates this passionate rendering of God’s Word, presenting it in a highest quality format for those who love the translation’s rich heritage and reverent language.
This study guide and prayer book celebrate the history of the King James Version of the Bible with topical Scripture text and historical information to bring encouragement, comfort, and joy to the reader. Scripture selections are divided into 45 topics that shed light on the vastness of God’s love for each one of us.
We have much more in our Bible Boutique! To view all of our King James Bibles or other translations follow the links below:
For more information on the 400th Anniversary of the King James Version, visit the following websites:
“My life was my work. My work was my legacy. My legacy was based on my deep connection with Christ…even before I knew it. Isn’t that remarkable?”
Jo Marz, August 2010
For 24 years, Jo Marz has designed and created innovative, exquisite and collectible gift items in the United States. Collected by performing arts legends, respected museums, renowned business leaders, heads of state and royal families, the Jo Marz audience extends in a special way to the people who share her personal desire for elegant, hand-crafted items and those, like Jo Marz, who see life and beauty through the lens of faith.
“The soul-felt joy that my work brought me was the connection I experienced when each piece I designed found that special person who was meant to cherish it. I hold them in a place of honor in my heart.”
Jo combines unusual imported and domestic materials, semiprecious stones and unique findings to create heirloom-quality designs. She is one of the few remaining American designers producing handmade items in the United States.
CelebrateYourFaith.com is the exclusive source for many of these fine items. See the remarkable Jo Marz collection here.
Many cultures and religions claim some type of symbolic tree which may be referred to as the Tree of Life. Trees are a unique and powerful symbol of growth as they are the only living things that continue to grow throughout their lifespan.
The Bible talks about the Tree of Life from Genesis to Revelation and several places in between. The Biblical Tree of Life represents the immortality of the soul, or something with health-giving, heartening, or life-affirming properties. And of course the tree is the source of wood, which was used to decorative and symbolic effect in the building of the Ark of the Covenant and the Temple. In areas of the world that are hot and dry, the shade provided by a tree can literally mean the difference between life and death.
The Tree of Life has provided inspiration for artists for hundreds of years. Some examples are this tempera on panel which was probably done for an altarpiece:
Another example of the Tree of Life can be seen in this stained-glass window in St. Peter’s Church in Firle, Sussex (England).
From a frieze in the Palais Stoclet in Brussels, Belgium by Austrian symbolist painter Gustav Klimt:
And this Panamanian mola (a form of textile folk art):
See Tree of Life items on CelebrateYourFaith.com. What does the Tree of Life mean to you?
“Majolica” is a type of earthenware pottery decorated with tin and lead glazes which originated in medieval Muslim Spain. This colorful and often elaborate pottery became very popular in Italy during the Renaissance, and was called “maiolica” by the Italians after the Spanish port of Mallorca, from which the exports came.
This “maiolica” was an important and respected art form in Renaissance Italy. Ceramic artisans in Spain and Italy influenced, and were influenced by, the work of other artisans in Holland, Germany, France, and Portugal, which refined both the designs and the process of this unique style of pottery.
In the mid-1800s, the English potteries in the villages around Stoke-on-Trent led the world in additional refinements in tin and lead glazing, and a creative revival was underway. At the Minton factory, a respected French chemist was hired to perfect the lead glaze used in their new line of pottery based on Renaissance designs. This pottery, introduced in the Great Exhibition (the first World’s Fair) in 1851, became known as “majolica”.
Making majolica is a labor-intensive process, requiring multiple glazes and firings. Some of the more elaborately colored pieces can take weeks to produce. Each firing produces a chemical reaction between the glazes and the minerals in the clay body, which accounts for the vibrant colors. The gases released during the firing process also create the characteristic lines and dots of the majolica finish.
Part of the fun for collectors of antique majolica is that there is an incredible and often quirky variety of both design and function. Majolica became popular for everything from garden ornaments to elaborate Victorian tableware. For a visual overview of some of the most refined Victorian examples of majolica, visit this link to the collections in the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.
Contemporary majolica has a broad reach and a broad appeal. We love its versatility, and the way artisans can use the forms and colors of the majolica technique to produce a wide range of items. Click here to see our selection of ornamental majolica crosses on CelebrateYourFaith.com.
The Sistine Chapel was built in the 15th century by Pope Sixtus IV (hence the name). Though the walls were done by celebrated artist such as Botticelli and Perugino, the chapel is perhaps most famous for the ceiling frescoes of scenes from the Book of Genesis painted by Michelangelo Buonarroti in the early 1500s.
Michaelangelo was a sculptor, not a painter; his brilliance provoked the jealousy of the established artists of the day, who persuaded Pope Julius II to offer the ceiling commission to the young Michaelangelo in hopes that he would fail!
They were convinced that the young sculptor, who had never attempted a fresco before, would inevitably fail or, at the very least, become embroiled in a time consuming effort that would remove him from the competition for years. Michelangelo at first refused, protesting that he was a sculptor, not a painter. However, Pope Julius insisted and finally prevailed. . . after four years, [Michaelangelo] revealed a masterpiece.
Turn on your computer’s sound before taking the tour so you get the full effect.