Journey through the Dante Urbinate: Paradise, Canto I. Dante and Beatrice
The cover page of the Paradiso displays an architectural structure that is complex yet light, almost like a triumphal arch. It gets its extraordinary lightness not only from the many cherubs but even more from the view of the blue sky seen through its gate, together with some zodiac signs and Dante and Beatrice, in the sunlight.
The arch depicts two cherubs playing musical instruments, on its decorative interior ceiling. They are resting on fluted pilasters which support the arch together with two green candelabra, while at the top two others seem to decorate the projecting frame.
On the sides of the arch under the cornice the same writing as on the title pages of Inferno and Paradiso, is seen, but in abbreviated form: DI F (Federicus) VR (Urbini) Dux Belli Fvl (fulgor) et Pacis Autor P (Patriae) P (Pivs) P (Pater). On the base, the initials "FE DUX" are shown in gilded letters, while on the sides of the arch, in a symmetrical position, candelabra and pilasters with a lively floral decoration show the exploits of Federico da Montefeltro. In the middle part, the first three stanzas of the Paradiso are flanked by cherubs playing musical instruments holding up the initial L of the text, La gloria di colui che tutto muove / The glory of the one who moves everything.
Valerio Mariani and staff.
Source: La Divina Commedia di Federico da Montefeltro. Il Dante Urbinate. Commentario.
Illumination from Dante Alighieri’s Divina Commedia, Ms. Urb. lat. 365, f. 197r, 1478-1482, Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana.