Painted by no less than Gerard David: the personal prayer book of the notorious Borgia Pope

Book of Hours of Alexander VI. Pope Borgia

Bruges (Belgium) — Late 15th century

Book of Hours of Alexander VI. Pope Borgia

Book of Hours of Alexander VI. Pope Borgia

Bruges (Belgium) — Late 15th century

  1. The infamous "Borgia Pope" (1468-1503) was one of the most colorful characters to sit on the throne of St. Peter

  2. This papal prayer book impresses with 84 miniatures from the hand of Gerard David (ca. 1460-1523)

  3. The richly embellished miniatures are presented as though they were seen through a window

Libro de Horas de Alejandro VI. Papa Borgia

Book of Hours of Alexander VI. Pope Borgia

Coronation of the Virgin

Increasing devotion to the Virgin Mary in the Late Middle Ages is evident in Gothic art, and scenes of her coronation as Queen of Heaven were particularly common in the 15th century. The Holy Trinity is shown under a beautifully patterned baldachin with a white dove representing the Holy Spirit hovering above the crown that is about to be placed on the kneeling Mary’s head. Christ’s wounds from the Passion are visible while God the Father is a crowned king with a globus cruciger.

Book of Hours of Alexander VI. Pope Borgia

Alternative Titles:
  • Libro de Horas de Alejandro VI. Papa Borgia
  • Stundenbuch Alexanders VI.
  • Livre d’Heures d’Alexandre VI. Pape Borgia
  • Libro d'Ore di Alessandro VI. Papa Borgia
  • Livro de Horas de Alexandre VI. Papa Bórgia
  • Stundenbuch von Borgia-Papst Alexanders VI.
Book of Hours of Alexander VI. Pope Borgia – Ms. IV 480 – Bibliothèque Royale de Belgique (Bruxelles, Belgium)
Book of Hours of Alexander VI. Pope Borgia – Ms. IV 480 – Bibliothèque Royale de Belgique (Bruxelles, Belgium)
Book of Hours of Alexander VI. Pope Borgia – Ms. IV 480 – Bibliothèque Royale de Belgique (Bruxelles, Belgium)
Book of Hours of Alexander VI. Pope Borgia – Ms. IV 480 – Bibliothèque Royale de Belgique (Bruxelles, Belgium)
Book of Hours of Alexander VI. Pope Borgia – Ms. IV 480 – Bibliothèque Royale de Belgique (Bruxelles, Belgium)
Book of Hours of Alexander VI. Pope Borgia – Ms. IV 480 – Bibliothèque Royale de Belgique (Bruxelles, Belgium)
Book of Hours of Alexander VI. Pope Borgia – Ms. IV 480 – Bibliothèque Royale de Belgique (Bruxelles, Belgium)
Book of Hours of Alexander VI. Pope Borgia – Ms. IV 480 – Bibliothèque Royale de Belgique (Bruxelles, Belgium)
Book of Hours of Alexander VI. Pope Borgia – Ms. IV 480 – Bibliothèque Royale de Belgique (Bruxelles, Belgium)
Book of Hours of Alexander VI. Pope Borgia – Ms. IV 480 – Bibliothèque Royale de Belgique (Bruxelles, Belgium)
Book of Hours of Alexander VI. Pope Borgia – Ms. IV 480 – Bibliothèque Royale de Belgique (Bruxelles, Belgium)
Book of Hours of Alexander VI. Pope Borgia – Ms. IV 480 – Bibliothèque Royale de Belgique (Bruxelles, Belgium)
Book of Hours of Alexander VI. Pope Borgia – Ms. IV 480 – Bibliothèque Royale de Belgique (Bruxelles, Belgium)
Book of Hours of Alexander VI. Pope Borgia – Ms. IV 480 – Bibliothèque Royale de Belgique (Bruxelles, Belgium)
Book of Hours of Alexander VI. Pope Borgia – Ms. IV 480 – Bibliothèque Royale de Belgique (Bruxelles, Belgium)
Book of Hours of Alexander VI. Pope Borgia – Ms. IV 480 – Bibliothèque Royale de Belgique (Bruxelles, Belgium)
Book of Hours of Alexander VI. Pope Borgia – Ms. IV 480 – Bibliothèque Royale de Belgique (Bruxelles, Belgium)
Book of Hours of Alexander VI. Pope Borgia – Ms. IV 480 – Bibliothèque Royale de Belgique (Bruxelles, Belgium)
Book of Hours of Alexander VI. Pope Borgia – Ms. IV 480 – Bibliothèque Royale de Belgique (Bruxelles, Belgium)
Book of Hours of Alexander VI. Pope Borgia – Ms. IV 480 – Bibliothèque Royale de Belgique (Bruxelles, Belgium)
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  1. Short Description
  2. Codicology

Short Description

The Book of Hours of Pope Alexander impresses with 84 miniatures from the hand of one of the greatest painters of his time: Gerard David. This artist, actually employed as a panel-painter, produced many sought-after, enchanting book illustrations for the colorful and valuable miniatures for Pope Alexander VI. Originating from the beginning of the 15th century, the valuable miniatures, with their rich gold trim, show religious scenes in exhilarating frames with elements of animals, plants, fruit, and architecture. The work was patronized by the infamous Borgia-Pope Alexander VI., whose life and intrigue continue to make him an interesting historical figure today.

Book of Hours of Alexander VI. Pope Borgia

The Book of Hours of Pope Alexander impresses with 84 miniatures from the hand of one of the greatest painters of his time: Gerard David. This artist, actually employed as a panel-painter, produced many sought-after, enchanting book illustrations for the colorful and valuable miniatures for Pope Alexander VI. Originating from the beginning of the 15th century, the valuable miniatures, with their rich gold trim, show religious scenes in exhilarating frames with elements of animals, plants, fruit, and architecture. The work was patronized by the infamous Borgia-Pope Alexander VI, whose life and intrigue continue to make him an interesting historical figure today.

The Last Great Book-Painting of Bruges

No less than Gerard David (around 1455-1523) is supposed to have adorned the private Book of Hours for the Pope. This well-known artist was asked by the most important clients for panel- or book-paintings. He was one of the last representatives of the highpoint of painting from Bruges. Gerard David was mainly employed as a panel-painter, but in his creative free-time he produced choice, enchanting book illustrations, like two books of hours for the Spanish Queen Isabella or the Book of Hours of 1486, also named after him. His style was unmistakable and in terms of detail, it has a high artistic and qualitative value. Only the best was good enough for Pope Alexander VI.

Amazing Miniature Paintings for the Pope

Spanning the 420 pages are 84 grand miniatures with rich gold and silver embellishment. Light colors present a true fire work of miniature painting towards the eye of the beholder. The miniatures are presented as images in a window. They are always surrounded by a bright frame, which contains creatively ornamental flowers, animals, or depictions of fantasy, and is designed in an artfully and architecturally-minded manner. Both are either connected, or made into an entire page, making a large panel-picture. The content of the frame is always set in relation to the actual miniature. For example, the scene of the visitation of Mary is surrounded by luminous red roses. The Lamentation of Christ finds itself within a frame resembling an altar, with the architectural feel of a church. The actual miniatures are pressed in David’s typical style. In terms of perspective, exact frames or airy landscapes underpin the fine yet physically present figures. The text-pages are also partly embroidered with grandiose borders. These contain suitable depictions as the background of the text, like the Arma Christi, or an impressive amount of ornamental decoration with architectural elements or depictions of plants.

The Famous/Infamous Borgia Pope

Rodrigo Borgia was elected Pope Alexander VI (1492-1503) in 1492. In order to win this vote, he had to use bribes and other criminal activities, which have inspired countless conspiracy theories. The life of the Borgia Pope has indeed lost none of its mysterious aura. Originally from an unimportant family, Rodrigo Borgia transformed the Borgia Clan into one of the most influential and powerful families. The well-known, infamous Pope led a depraved life and used the power given to him by his office for his own benefit. Corruption and intrigue were part and parcel of his tenure, making him an interesting figure for stories and narrative today. To grant him more understanding of his office, Alexander VI commissioned a private Book of Hours in the illumination capitol of the time, Bruges. Even today the pages of the book are bound by their original bindings, which were finished in Brussels by Antoine de Gavere.

Codicology

Alternative Titles
Libro de Horas de Alejandro VI. Papa Borgia
Stundenbuch Alexanders VI.
Livre d’Heures d’Alexandre VI. Pape Borgia
Libro d'Ore di Alessandro VI. Papa Borgia
Livro de Horas de Alexandre VI. Papa Bórgia
Stundenbuch von Borgia-Papst Alexanders VI.
Size / Format
420 pages / 18.5 x 13.5 cm
Date
Late 15th century
Language
Illustrations
84 miniatures illuminated in gold and silver by Gerard David
Artist / School
Libro de Horas de Alejandro VI. Papa Borgia

Book of Fixed Stars of Alfonso the Wise

Veil of Veronica and Borgia Coat of Arms

This splendid miniature by Gerard David, the master responsible for illuminating this manuscript, is one of the most artful depictions of the Veil of Veronica. According to legend, St. Veronica encountered Jesus on his way to Calvary and wiped the blood and sweat from his face with her veil, which became one of the most venerated relics during the Middle Ages.

Surrounded by a golden architectural frame, in which the Borgia coat of arms as the dukes of Gandía is featured under a papal tiara, St. Veronica stands within the walls of a castle. The size of Christ’s imprinted face is exaggerated and depicted by the Netherlandish master in the Spanish style with a serene face, bifurcated beard, and a cross formed behind his head by rays of holy light.

1 available facsimile edition(s) of „Book of Hours of Alexander VI. Pope Borgia“

Libro de Horas de Alejandro VI. Papa Borgia
Book of Hours of Alexander VI. Pope Borgia – Ms. IV 480 – Bibliothèque Royale de Belgique (Bruxelles, Belgium)
Book of Hours of Alexander VI. Pope Borgia – Ms. IV 480 – Bibliothèque Royale de Belgique (Bruxelles, Belgium)
Book of Hours of Alexander VI. Pope Borgia – Ms. IV 480 – Bibliothèque Royale de Belgique (Bruxelles, Belgium)
Book of Hours of Alexander VI. Pope Borgia – Ms. IV 480 – Bibliothèque Royale de Belgique (Bruxelles, Belgium)
Book of Hours of Alexander VI. Pope Borgia – Ms. IV 480 – Bibliothèque Royale de Belgique (Bruxelles, Belgium)
Book of Hours of Alexander VI. Pope Borgia – Ms. IV 480 – Bibliothèque Royale de Belgique (Bruxelles, Belgium)
Book of Hours of Alexander VI. Pope Borgia – Ms. IV 480 – Bibliothèque Royale de Belgique (Bruxelles, Belgium)
Book of Hours of Alexander VI. Pope Borgia – Ms. IV 480 – Bibliothèque Royale de Belgique (Bruxelles, Belgium)
Book of Hours of Alexander VI. Pope Borgia – Ms. IV 480 – Bibliothèque Royale de Belgique (Bruxelles, Belgium)
Book of Hours of Alexander VI. Pope Borgia – Ms. IV 480 – Bibliothèque Royale de Belgique (Bruxelles, Belgium)
Book of Hours of Alexander VI. Pope Borgia – Ms. IV 480 – Bibliothèque Royale de Belgique (Bruxelles, Belgium)
Book of Hours of Alexander VI. Pope Borgia – Ms. IV 480 – Bibliothèque Royale de Belgique (Bruxelles, Belgium)
Book of Hours of Alexander VI. Pope Borgia – Ms. IV 480 – Bibliothèque Royale de Belgique (Bruxelles, Belgium)
Book of Hours of Alexander VI. Pope Borgia – Ms. IV 480 – Bibliothèque Royale de Belgique (Bruxelles, Belgium)
Book of Hours of Alexander VI. Pope Borgia – Ms. IV 480 – Bibliothèque Royale de Belgique (Bruxelles, Belgium)
Book of Hours of Alexander VI. Pope Borgia – Ms. IV 480 – Bibliothèque Royale de Belgique (Bruxelles, Belgium)
Book of Hours of Alexander VI. Pope Borgia – Ms. IV 480 – Bibliothèque Royale de Belgique (Bruxelles, Belgium)
Book of Hours of Alexander VI. Pope Borgia – Ms. IV 480 – Bibliothèque Royale de Belgique (Bruxelles, Belgium)
Book of Hours of Alexander VI. Pope Borgia – Ms. IV 480 – Bibliothèque Royale de Belgique (Bruxelles, Belgium)
Book of Hours of Alexander VI. Pope Borgia – Ms. IV 480 – Bibliothèque Royale de Belgique (Bruxelles, Belgium)
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Libro de Horas de Alejandro VI. Papa Borgia

1 volume: Exact reproduction of the original document (extent, color and size)
Publisher
Patrimonio Ediciones – Valencia, 2004
Limited Edition
999 copies
Binding
Leather over wooden boards with bronze hinges and clasps
Commentary
1 volume (84 pages) by Amadeo Serra Desfilis
Languages: Spanish, English, German
Regular price without login (like new)3,490 €
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