Book of Hours of Charles VIII

Book of Hours of Charles VIII

France — ca. 1494

With figures you can almost touch: a magnificently illuminated, royal masterpiece by the great Jacques de Besançon

  1. This manuscript by the French master Jacques de Besançon (d. ca. 1500) is considered to be a "Treasure of Spain"

  2. The 44 large format miniatures and 200 smaller illustrations are true jewels of Renaissance painting

  3. The richly detailed images appear so plastic and realistic, that the figures appear almost tactile

Book of Hours of Charles VIII

  1. Description
  2. Facsimile Editions (1)
Description
Book of Hours of Charles VIII

The Book of Hours of Charles VIII was produced in 1494 by the French master Jacques de Besançon. It contains outstanding miniatures in various formats and numerous, excitingly patterned bordures on a golden background. The work is classified as a “Treasure of Spain” and is found today in the Spanish National Library in Madrid.

Book of Hours of Charles VIII

Among all of the highly valuable books of hours of the Middle Ages, there are a few that stand out due to their special quality. One of these masterpieces is the book art of the Book of Hours of Charles VIII. The finely illuminated manuscript contains 44 large format miniatures and around 200 smaller illustrations such as breath-taking decorative bordures. The spectacular work is found today in the Biblioteca Nacional in Madrid and is classified as a “Treasure of Spain”.

A French Master

The astonishing book of hours was produced in 1494. At this time King Charles VIII was the ruler of France. He was the only son of Louis XI of France and his wife Charlotte of Savoy. Charles VIII was the last monarch from the house of the Valois. The book was designed for the private prayer and meditation of the king. The talented master Jacques de Besançon is responsible for the illustrations of the manuscript. This book painter was one of the most sought-after illuminators of his time and worked for the wealthiest commissioners of France. Quite a few of his valuable works are housed today in the French National Library.

Overwhelming Plastic Representations

The miniatures of the Book of Hours of Charles VIII are true jewels of Renaissance painting. It contains miniatures of various sizes. Half-page miniature show portraits of saints, among others are portraits of Saints Christopher, Peter, and Paul. Full-page miniatures show scenes from the New Testament and the Passion of the Christ. The richly detailed images appear so plastic and realistic, that the figures appear almost tactile. The small paintings are furnished with bordures on a golden background, which are embellished with varying patterns of palms, fruits, and flowers. The splendid impression of the miniatures is emphasized as a result.

Codicology

Alternative Titles
Libro de Horas de Carlos VIII
Stundenbuch von Karl VIII.
Libro d'Ore di Carlo VIII
Livre d’Heures de Charles VIII
Livro de Horas de Carlos VIII
Size / Format
232 pages / 24.8 × 16.9 cm
Origin
France
Date
ca. 1494
Language
Illustrations
44 full- and half-page miniatures and over 200 decorative borders with smaller miniatures
Content
Liturgy of the Hours with calendar
Artist / School

Available facsimile editions:
Book of Hours of Charles VIII – Ms. Vit. 24-1 – Biblioteca Nacional de España (Madrid, Spain)
M. Moleiro Editor – Barcelona, 1995
Limited Edition: 987 copies
Facsimile Editions

#1 Libro de Horas de Carlos VIII

M. Moleiro Editor – Barcelona, 1995

Publisher: M. Moleiro Editor – Barcelona, 1995
Limited Edition: 987 copies
Binding: Brown leather with gold embossing
Commentary: 1 volume (431 pages) by Ana Domínguez Rodríguez, Juan J. Fortea Sola, Silvia Docampo Capilla, and Íñigo De Goñi Echevarría
Languages: Spanish, English
1 volume: Exact reproduction of the original document (extent, color and size) 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.
Price Category: €€€€ (7,000€ - 10,000€)
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