Libro delle Sorti di Lorenzo Spirito Gualtieri

It. IX, 87] (=6226) - Biblioteca Nazionale Marciana (Venice, Italy)

Alternate Titles:

Schicksalsbuch des Lorenzo Spirito Gualtieri, El libro de las suertes de Lorenzo Spirito Gualtieri

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Alternate Titles

Schicksalsbuch des Lorenzo Spirito Gualtieri
El libro de las suertes de Lorenzo Spirito Gualtieri

Extent / Format

256 pages / 24.4 x 17.4 cm

1482Illuminated in ther first decade of the 16th century

Braccio da Montone (Perugian noble family)

Artist / School

Circle of Pietro Perugino and of the young Raphael

Former owners

Lorenzo Spirito Gualtieri (1426-1496)

Short description

The “Book of Destiny” by Lorenzo Spirito Gualteri was made in Italy in 1482. It depicts a parlor game that allows the player to pose possible answers to questions about their destiny and future. The beautiful, colored illustrations of the work were richly furnished with gold adornment.

Facsimile editions available


Libro delle Sorti di Lorenzo Spirito Gualtieri

Questions of one’s future have occupied people since the beginning of time. In the Middle Ages, many practices – no longer considered to be scientific today – gained great fame, such as astrology. Based on star constellations, weather phenomena, or other mystical signs, people sought to read what would happen to them in their future life. The Italian author Lorenzo Spirito Gualteri composed a handwritten and illustrated codex that enabled the interpretation of the future in the form of a parlor game. His so-called “Book of Destiny” unified splendid miniatures, which were influenced by the great Italian painting of the 15th century, with astrological and religious symbolism.

Future Interpretation in the Renaissance

The Spirito Gualtieri work offered people in the Middle Ages possible answers to questions about their destiny. The manuscript concerns itself with the themes of luck and health, honor, the birth of a child, the moment of death, political problems, or professional success. Such spiritual writings were extraordinarily popular in the time period of the Renaissance. The Book of Destiny can be considered as Italy’s first bestseller.

First-Rate Illustration

The Book of Destiny originated at the court of a noble family in Perugia, whereat the scholar Lorenzi Spirito Gualtieri was employed. It was probably made at the court of the Braccio da Montone family, however there are too few sources available to confirm the manuscripts exact point of origin. In any case, the splendid work was commissioned by a wealthy benefactor. Many of the richly illustrated pages of the book were furnished with opulent gold adornment. The wheel of fortune, kings, astrological symbols, celestial spheres, and prophets are all depicted. This exciting Renaissance parlor game is stored today in the Biblioteca Nazionale Marciana in Venice.

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