Book of Hours of Christoph I, Margrave of Baden-Baden

Book of Hours of Christoph I, Margrave of Baden-Baden

Paris (France) — 1488

With two portraits of the patron, Margrave Christoph I. von Baden: a Parisian masterpiece for a member of the exquisite Order of the Golden Fleece

  1. The pious patron of this splendid manuscript is personally depicted in two marvelous miniatures

  2. Christoph I Margrave of Baden (1453–1527) was a member of the imperial family and the Order of the Golden Fleece

  3. Originating in Paris ca. 1488, the manuscript presents itself as a work of art of the highest quality

Book of Hours of Christoph I, Margrave of Baden-Baden

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  1. Description
  2. Detail Picture
  3. Single Page
  4. Facsimile Editions (1)
Description
Book of Hours of Christoph I, Margrave of Baden-Baden

The oldest evidence of margravial book ownership that is found today in the Badische Landesbibliothek in Karlsruhe: the precious Hours of Christoph I, Margrave of Baden. Originating in Paris ca. 1488, the manuscript presents itself as a work of art of the highest quality and the most impressive splendor. The typical elements of such a private devotional book were adorned with precious illumination. The important patron is himself immortalized in two marvelous miniatures – outstanding attestations of visual creativity. A true treasure of 15th century French illumination and an exciting credential of Baden’s history!

Hours of Christoph I, Margrave of Baden

The oldest evidence of margravial book ownership that is found today in the Badische Landesbibliothek in Karlsruhe: the precious Hours of Christoph I, Margrave of Baden. Originating in Paris ca. 1488, the manuscript presents itself as a work of art of the highest quality and the most impressive splendor. The typical elements of such a private devotional book were adorned with precious illumination. The important patron is himself immortalized in two marvelous miniatures – outstanding attestations of visual creativity. A true treasure of 15th century French illumination and an exciting credential of Baden’s history!

The Margrave as Benefactor

A gorgeous miniature presents Margrave Christoph I of Baden kneeling in prayer and wearing armor, which he has partly taken off. An artfully draped red curtain makes up the background of the depiction, and was encompassed by thin gold frames: a gorgeous composition, simultaneously elegant and withdrawn yet extremely present. A Marian Annunciation is depicted on the opposite side. In the benefactor’s second image, the Margrave is not depicted as young but rather as a grey old man. In this miniature of St. Christopher, who is carrying the Christ child over the river, and another saint who is standing on the banks, a fourth figure can be discovered: the benefactor in precious garments, smaller than the others and kneeling on the riverbank. Curiously, his hand is even taken by Saint Christopher and this binds reality with the biblical tale. A wonderful testimonial of the patron’s deep faith!

Christoph I, Knight of the Order of the Golden Fleece

Christoph I (1453–1527), as the son of Katharina of Austria – the sister of Emperor Friedrich III – and Margrave Karl I of Baden, became the Margrave of Baden. He made a name for himself as a brave warrior while serving as a commander for the Emperors Friedrich III and Maximilian I. As payment for his accomplishments, Christoph I was even made a member of the Order of the Golden Fleece! With his precious manuscript, originating from Paris ca. 1488, he laid the cornerstone for the margravial collection, from which the Badische Landesbibliothek evolved. Today, Codex Durlach 1 is the oldest specimen of the book collections in Karlsruhe’s Badische Landesbibliothek.

Precious Miniature Painting

The visual décor of the margravial book of hours is an outstanding testimonial to 15th century French illumination and is significantly influenced by the tradition of the great Flemish masters. The miniature pages are colorfully presented and thoughtfully composed: in each case, a large primary miniature is surrounded by a broad decorative frame, which is filled with ornaments, flowers, fruits, animals, banderoles, and other decorative elements. A few pages of the text are surrounded by similarly wonderful frames in addition to a small, wonderfully composed illustration earlier in the text. E.g. the lives of saints, where the respective saint is presented in the small, rectangular miniature. An idiosyncrasy of the manuscript is that alongside the patron, Markgrave Christoph I of Baden, Margrave Bernhard II of Baden and other historical personalities can also be discovered!

Codicology

Alternative Titles
Stundenbuch des Markgrafen Christoph I. von Baden
Size / Format
216 pages / 14.7 × 10.6 cm
Origin
France
Date
1488
Previous Owners
Christoph I (1453–1527), Margrave of Baden

Available facsimile editions:
Detail Picture

Book of Hours of Christoph I, Margrave of Baden-Baden

Saint Anthony the Great

Identifiable by his walking stick, long beard, and hood, Saint Anthony the Great was an ascetic who went alone into the wilderness where he overcame temptation and attacks from demons. As such, he is the founder of the so-called Desert Fathers whose hermetic communities became the model for Christian monasticism. Today he is also known as the Father of All Monks. His portrait is highly embellished with countless strokes of gold ink and is flanked by a songbird in the gorgeous tendril frame.

Stundenbuch des Markgrafen Christoph I. von Baden
Single Page

Book of Hours of Christoph I, Margrave of Baden-Baden

Donor Portrait

Margrave Christoph I was a skilled warrior from the upper crust of late medieval European aristocracy, a member of the Order of the Golden Fleece, and a great patron of the arts. He is depicted as such here in his patron portrait: kneeling in a suit of armor before an open codex – likely the book of hours at hand – with his helmet and gauntlets removed and hands folded in prayer.

In the lower register, Christoph’s escutcheon is depicted in a splendid display of heraldry with great attention paid to the helmet, crown, and embellishing flora. Aside from the subtle grey shading used to depict the armor, this image is dominated by the masterful employment of gold leaf and rich red tones, the elegantly draped curtain in particular.

Stundenbuch des Markgrafen Christoph I. von Baden
Facsimile Editions

#1 Stundenbuch des Markgrafen Christoph I. von Baden

Book of Hours of Christoph I, Margrave of Baden-Baden  – Durlach 1 – Badische Landesbibliothek (Karlsruhe, Germany)
Book of Hours of Christoph I, Margrave of Baden-Baden – Durlach 1 – Badische Landesbibliothek (Karlsruhe, Germany)

Limited Edition: 900 copies
Binding: Leather
Commentary: 1 volume (295 pages) by Elmar Mittler and Gerhard Stamm
Language: German
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: € (under 1,000€)
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