Book of Hours of Charles VIII

Biblioteca Nacional, Madrid




Shelfmark: Ms. Vit. 24-1.
Date: c. 1494.
Format: 248 x 169 mm.
232 pages, 44 miniatures and hundreds of painted marginal borders.
Bound in brown leather embossed in gold.
Commentary volume (432 p.), by Ana Domínguez (Universidad Complutense de Madrid).
Unique and unrepeatable first edition, strictly limited to 987 numbered and authenticated copies.
ISBN: 978-84-88526-08-3


Shelfmark: Ms. Vit. 24-1.
Date: c. 1494.
Format: 248 x 169 mm.
232 pages, 44 miniatures and hundreds of painted marginal borders.
Bound in brown leather embossed in gold.
Commentary volume (432 p.), by Ana Domínguez (Universidad Complutense de Madrid).
Unique and unrepeatable first edition, strictly limited to 987 numbered and authenticated copies.
ISBN: 978-84-88526-08-3


Pictures
Book of Hours of Charles VIII
Biblioteca Nacional, Madrid



Description

Book of Hours of Charles VIII Biblioteca Nacional, Madrid


The Book of Hours of Charles VIII opens with the calendar (ff. 1 to 6v) and continues with the offices written in Latin in French script (ff. 7 to 112) and numbered in ink. The codex is lavishly decorated with more than two hundred marginal borders showing palm trees, fruits and flowers entwined upon gold grounds. Margins feature some 190 small miniatures interwoven with motifs from the Old and New Testaments, the Life of the Virgin and, occasionally, war scenes.

The subject matter of half-page miniatures is usually a saint, St Christopher, St Peter and St Paul, etc. The Trinity (f. 102), the triumph of life (f. 110) and the dance of death (f.111) are exceptions. The full-page miniatures portray scenes from the life of the Holy Family, the Passion and the New Testament.

The main and virtually the only miniaturist in the Book of Hours of Charles VIII is the Master of Jacques of Besançon. The only exception is the head of the king depicted on folio 13v which was subsequently retouched. It is a portrait of Louis XII, although the figure of Charlemagne and the legend refer unmistakably to Charles VIII.

This, the most spectacular book of hours in the Biblioteca Nacional, is classified as a TREASURE OF SPAIN.



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