Commissioned by Emperor Maximilian I as a gift for his wife: a delightfully decorated Flemish masterpiece by the great "Master of Mary of Burgundy"

Berlin Hours of Mary of Burgundy

Burgundy (France) — Between 1477 and 1480

Berlin Hours of Mary of Burgundy

Berlin Hours of Mary of Burgundy

Burgundy (France) — Between 1477 and 1480

  1. This masterful work from the Ghent region was commissioned by Emperor Maximilian I (1459–1519) for his wife

  2. The work originated ca. 1480 from the workshop of the anonymous Master of Mary of Burgundy

  3. The Incredible miniatures are surrounded by bordures of flowers, buds, vines, and insects

Berliner Stundenbuch der Maria von Burgund

Berlin Hours of Mary of Burgundy

Deposition from the Cross

The bright and cheerful color palette belies this mournful scene, one of the most popular in Christian art. Workmen are shown taking Christ down from the cross as the Virgin Mary, in blue, and Mary Magdelene, in red, extend their arms to receive him. What makes this image truly remarkable is the naturalistic posturing of the bodies, from the limpness of Christ’s corpse to the men coming down the ladders to the Mother of God bending her knees and bracing to bear his weight.

Berlin Hours of Mary of Burgundy

Alternative Titles:
  • Berliner Stundenbuch der Maria von Burgund und Kaiser Maximilians
Berlin Hours of Mary of Burgundy – 78 B 12 – Kupferstichkabinett Staatliche Museen (Berlin, Germany)
Berlin Hours of Mary of Burgundy – 78 B 12 – Kupferstichkabinett Staatliche Museen (Berlin, Germany)
Berlin Hours of Mary of Burgundy – 78 B 12 – Kupferstichkabinett Staatliche Museen (Berlin, Germany)
Berlin Hours of Mary of Burgundy – 78 B 12 – Kupferstichkabinett Staatliche Museen (Berlin, Germany)
Berlin Hours of Mary of Burgundy – 78 B 12 – Kupferstichkabinett Staatliche Museen (Berlin, Germany)
Berlin Hours of Mary of Burgundy – 78 B 12 – Kupferstichkabinett Staatliche Museen (Berlin, Germany)
Berlin Hours of Mary of Burgundy – 78 B 12 – Kupferstichkabinett Staatliche Museen (Berlin, Germany)
Berlin Hours of Mary of Burgundy – 78 B 12 – Kupferstichkabinett Staatliche Museen (Berlin, Germany)
Berlin Hours of Mary of Burgundy – 78 B 12 – Kupferstichkabinett Staatliche Museen (Berlin, Germany)
Berlin Hours of Mary of Burgundy – 78 B 12 – Kupferstichkabinett Staatliche Museen (Berlin, Germany)
Berlin Hours of Mary of Burgundy – 78 B 12 – Kupferstichkabinett Staatliche Museen (Berlin, Germany)
Berlin Hours of Mary of Burgundy – 78 B 12 – Kupferstichkabinett Staatliche Museen (Berlin, Germany)
Berlin Hours of Mary of Burgundy – 78 B 12 – Kupferstichkabinett Staatliche Museen (Berlin, Germany)
Berlin Hours of Mary of Burgundy – 78 B 12 – Kupferstichkabinett Staatliche Museen (Berlin, Germany)
Berlin Hours of Mary of Burgundy – 78 B 12 – Kupferstichkabinett Staatliche Museen (Berlin, Germany)
Berlin Hours of Mary of Burgundy – 78 B 12 – Kupferstichkabinett Staatliche Museen (Berlin, Germany)
Berlin Hours of Mary of Burgundy – 78 B 12 – Kupferstichkabinett Staatliche Museen (Berlin, Germany)
Berlin Hours of Mary of Burgundy – 78 B 12 – Kupferstichkabinett Staatliche Museen (Berlin, Germany)
Berlin Hours of Mary of Burgundy – 78 B 12 – Kupferstichkabinett Staatliche Museen (Berlin, Germany)
Berlin Hours of Mary of Burgundy – 78 B 12 – Kupferstichkabinett Staatliche Museen (Berlin, Germany)
Berlin Hours of Mary of Burgundy – 78 B 12 – Kupferstichkabinett Staatliche Museen (Berlin, Germany)
Berlin Hours of Mary of Burgundy – 78 B 12 – Kupferstichkabinett Staatliche Museen (Berlin, Germany)
Berlin Hours of Mary of Burgundy – 78 B 12 – Kupferstichkabinett Staatliche Museen (Berlin, Germany)
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  1. Short Description
  2. Codicology

Short Description

The Berlin Hours of Mary of Burgundy originated between 1477 and 1480 in the Ghent region, commissioned by Emperor Maximilian I (1459–1519) as a gift to his wife Mary of Burgundy (1457–1482). The magnificent manuscript contains prayers and religious texts for private devotion, which are enriched by a total of 27 full-page and 47 smaller miniatures with biblical scenes. They are joined by 16 pages with particularly rich and plastic bordure decoration consisting of flowers, buds, acanthus, and butterflies. There has already been much speculation in research about the artist of this outstanding Flemish illumination. It presumably came from the Master of Mary of Burgundy, who worked at the end of the 15th century and is stylistically similar to the works of the Old Dutch painter Hugo van der Goes.

Berlin Hours of Mary of Burgundy

The Berlin Hours of Mary of Burgundy, with its luminous miniatures, represents a highpoint of Flemish illumination. The manuscript originated in the region of Ghent between 1477 and 1480 at the behest of Emperor Maximilian I (1459–1519) as a gift to his wife Mary of Burgundy (1457–1482), the only child of Duke Charles the Bold (1433–1477) and as such his sole heiress. On a total of 724 pages, the manuscript contains both prayers as well as religious texts for private devotion, which are interspersed with 27 full-page and 47 smaller miniatures. Moreover, it contains 16 pages of exceptionally rich bordure decoration with flowers and butterflies.

The Secret of the Artist

Who it was that actually furnished the book with such color-intensive painting has never been resolved, but there is a lot of speculation. Initially, researchers ascribed the miniatures the the hand of Alexander Bening, who learned the craft of the miniaturist in the workshop of his father Simon Bening. For a long time now, the Master of Mary of Burgundy, or one of his successors is considered to be the outfitter of the book of hours. This name of convenience indicates a Franco-Flemish illuminator who worked in the late 15th century and is stylistically similar to the Old Dutch painter Hugo van Goes. Whosoever was the source of this precious, high-quality visual adornment, the Berlin Hours of Mary of Burgundy is a masterpiece.

Fantastical Framing

The artist devoted strikingly considerable attention to the frames of his miniatures. In particular, space is devoted large-scale flowers, still-closed buds, opulent acanthus, but also small butterflies and fruits. The fine motifs are arranged symmetrically in some compositions, like a decorative pattern, and freely in others, whereby the eye of the beholder is continuously fascinated by something new. Only rarely are frames and bordures of such high artistic quality that they are in no way inferior to the actual miniatures.

Dramatic and Harmonious Miniatures

It is breathtaking how the painter managed to produce completely different atmospheres in the biblical scenes. The scenes of torture and martyrdom are dramatic, while the sweeping figures and contorted faces attest to great suffering and terrifying violence. When one compares such temperamental miniatures with an introverted Woman of the Apocalypse or a loving Madonna with Child, the contrast could not be greater. It was exactly this interplay and clash of emotions that constitutes the quality of the meticulous and shimmering miniatures.

Codicology

Alternative Titles
Berliner Stundenbuch der Maria von Burgund und Kaiser Maximilians
Size / Format
724 pages / 10.3 x 7.0 cm
Date
Between 1477 and 1480
Language
Illustrations
27 full-page illustrations, 47 smaller miniatures and 16 pages with richly decorated borders
Artist / School
Previous Owners
Berliner Stundenbuch der Maria von Burgund

Berlin Hours of Mary of Burgundy

David and Goliath

The most famous underdog in the Western tradition is depicted here in a masterful miniature created either by the Master of Mary of Burgundy or someone from his circle. The armies of the Israelites and the Philistines look on as the young David does what King Saul is too afraid to do. Goliath is dressed in the bright garb of a contemporary mercenary, and an unknown city is depicted in the distant background of the Valley of Elah.

This scene depicts the moment that David slings the stone at Goliath, which will strike him square in the forehead, killing him instantly and dropping him to the ground. It is presented in a golden, flower-adorned frame with medallion miniatures of David as a shepherd (bottom) and decapitating the body of Goliath (left).

1 available facsimile edition(s) of „Berlin Hours of Mary of Burgundy“

Berliner Stundenbuch der Maria von Burgund
Berlin Hours of Mary of Burgundy – 78 B 12 – Kupferstichkabinett Staatliche Museen (Berlin, Germany)
Berlin Hours of Mary of Burgundy – 78 B 12 – Kupferstichkabinett Staatliche Museen (Berlin, Germany)
Berlin Hours of Mary of Burgundy – 78 B 12 – Kupferstichkabinett Staatliche Museen (Berlin, Germany)
Berlin Hours of Mary of Burgundy – 78 B 12 – Kupferstichkabinett Staatliche Museen (Berlin, Germany)
Berlin Hours of Mary of Burgundy – 78 B 12 – Kupferstichkabinett Staatliche Museen (Berlin, Germany)
Berlin Hours of Mary of Burgundy – 78 B 12 – Kupferstichkabinett Staatliche Museen (Berlin, Germany)
Berlin Hours of Mary of Burgundy – 78 B 12 – Kupferstichkabinett Staatliche Museen (Berlin, Germany)
Berlin Hours of Mary of Burgundy – 78 B 12 – Kupferstichkabinett Staatliche Museen (Berlin, Germany)
Berlin Hours of Mary of Burgundy – 78 B 12 – Kupferstichkabinett Staatliche Museen (Berlin, Germany)
Berlin Hours of Mary of Burgundy – 78 B 12 – Kupferstichkabinett Staatliche Museen (Berlin, Germany)
Berlin Hours of Mary of Burgundy – 78 B 12 – Kupferstichkabinett Staatliche Museen (Berlin, Germany)
Berlin Hours of Mary of Burgundy – 78 B 12 – Kupferstichkabinett Staatliche Museen (Berlin, Germany)
Berlin Hours of Mary of Burgundy – 78 B 12 – Kupferstichkabinett Staatliche Museen (Berlin, Germany)
Berlin Hours of Mary of Burgundy – 78 B 12 – Kupferstichkabinett Staatliche Museen (Berlin, Germany)
Berlin Hours of Mary of Burgundy – 78 B 12 – Kupferstichkabinett Staatliche Museen (Berlin, Germany)
Berlin Hours of Mary of Burgundy – 78 B 12 – Kupferstichkabinett Staatliche Museen (Berlin, Germany)
Berlin Hours of Mary of Burgundy – 78 B 12 – Kupferstichkabinett Staatliche Museen (Berlin, Germany)
Berlin Hours of Mary of Burgundy – 78 B 12 – Kupferstichkabinett Staatliche Museen (Berlin, Germany)
Berlin Hours of Mary of Burgundy – 78 B 12 – Kupferstichkabinett Staatliche Museen (Berlin, Germany)
Berlin Hours of Mary of Burgundy – 78 B 12 – Kupferstichkabinett Staatliche Museen (Berlin, Germany)
Berlin Hours of Mary of Burgundy – 78 B 12 – Kupferstichkabinett Staatliche Museen (Berlin, Germany)
Berlin Hours of Mary of Burgundy – 78 B 12 – Kupferstichkabinett Staatliche Museen (Berlin, Germany)
Berlin Hours of Mary of Burgundy – 78 B 12 – Kupferstichkabinett Staatliche Museen (Berlin, Germany)
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Berliner Stundenbuch der Maria von Burgund

1 volume: Exact reproduction of the original document (extent, color and size)
Publisher
Coron Verlag – Gütersloh, 1998
Limited Edition
980 copies
Binding
Red velvet with a partially gilded sterling clasp and gilt edging
Commentary
1 volume (182 pages) by Eberhard König, Bodo Brinkman, Fedje Anzelewsky and Frauke Steenbock
Languages: German
More Information
Reproduction of the entire original document as detailed as possible (scope, format, colors). The binding may not correspond to the original or current document binding.
Regular price without login (like new)890 €
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