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Books of Hours - Illuminated Manuscripts
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Books of Hours - Illuminated Manuscripts

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A look at illuminated manuscripts, particularly the notorious Books of Hours circa the Middle Ages.

A look at illuminated manuscripts, particularly the notorious Books of Hours circa the Middle Ages.

Published in: Spiritual, Education

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  • 1. Illuminated Medieval Manuscripts 13 th -17 th CenturySource: The Book of Hours with a historical survey and commentary by John Harthan
  • 2.  Prayer books whose contents were derived from official service books of the Church and personalized for each owner according to preference, status, and budget. They form the largest single collection of Book of Hours of Jeanne dEvreux 1324-28, France illuminated manuscripts.
  • 3.  In 1999, Christies Auction House sold a complete manuscript The Rothschild Prayerbook circa 1505, a Book of Hours, for around £8,580,000! (Randolph Women’s College) But they’re also worth knowing about since they tell us a lot about Medieval religious life – especially because they were so customized to each individual.
  • 4.  In the Middle Ages, timekeeping was not mechanized – so “Hours” indicated inexact portions of the day, which marked the start of business or religious duties. As such, Hours queued people to follow the Church’s program of daily devotion – which often very time- consuming.
  • 5.  The Hours tell the story of Christ but the images point to the Virgin Mary. A cult of Mary formed in the Middle Ages – she was everyone’s mother.  “less awful than god” but “more powerful than the saints” (Harthan)
  • 6. Calendar The Office (Text) Usually 2 pages per month.  The various daily prayers to Outlines which devotions be recited (many focus on are to be said for every day Mary). of the year. Marks saints’days & other The Psalter (Text) feasts.  The hymns and psalms for Have a regional emphasis every day of the week. or “Use” Suffrages of the Saints
  • 7. Catherine Lipscomb Flemish Bookof Cleves, 15th C. Book of Hours of Hours, 16th C.
  • 8. May miniature by SimonThemes- examples: Bening, early 16th C.  Jan: feasting  Feb: sitting by the fire  Apr: garden scene  May: boating  June: the hay harvest  Dec: killing the pig or baking bread. Zodiac signs often depicted for each.
  • 9.  Pretty much anyone who could read and afford to have one.  Catholics: both devout and secular  Rich personages of their time who belonged to affluent, well-known families:  Often women who owned them Middle class laity Even illiterate people aspired to have one.
  • 10. Tools:  wooden blocksIllumination:  vellum or parchment The art of decorating books  iron gall ink, made from the with colours and metals nuts on oak trees (usually gold, occasionally  minerals, silver). plants & chemicals Chiefly practiced in the used for tint. Medieval times pre-printing press.  quill pen A collaborative effort  Colours  Script
  • 11. Colour/marks Calendar marking festivals  red and for important festivals  lesser ones are in black  regional often in red or blue Abbreviated rubrics  blue or red subdivisions between the prayers and verses.  (Ex. Ps for psalm)
  • 12. Script1. Blackletter/Gothic script  15th C: 3. Aldine script adopted  italics (Aldus Manutius)  late 16thC  in printed editions.2. A more humanistic style miniscule  throwback to Carolingian script.  antiqua/roman  16th C:
  • 13. the initial_____________ decorative  historiative  16th C  14th C Herod with 3 wise men  15th C  15th C Mary with baby Jesus
  • 14. miniatures Not necessarily small in size but stemming from the Latin minium(red pigment of lead oxide).  Apart from text  Inside text  Full page (in frame)
  • 15. borders/frames Ragged edges  Thick & fill margin.  Incorporated with an initial.  Frames (vines & flowers  Symbolic emblems &ornaments  Associated with saints, or the patron’s family
  • 16.  Not bound in leather originally. Instead, a covering of fine leather, velvet or silk.  Used as a carrying or a napkin to keep book clean. The bindings we have now are the result of a later cover attached by an inheritor of the book  Or a facsimile of original for display in collections, (above).
  • 17. A more humble example
  • 18. Other than for prayer… Were albums for religious knickknacks Medicinal and spiritual purposes A place to record genealogies and create family identity.  “livres de raison”
  • 19. Antoine Vérard, colour Astrological Man by Pigouchet(France, 1506; print.) (France, 1547; print.)
  • 20. Secularization  Inclusion of superstitious invocations.  Laws of perspective experimented with.  Increasing use of vernacular.  Depictions of Caesar, and classical intrusions (like the 12 Sibyls).The Hours of Reynalt von Homoet (Germany, 1475)
  • 21. LESS CUSTOMIZED LESS PERSONAL THEIR WHEN PRINTED =MEANING =DEMISE

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