For the ruler of Mirandola: a masterpiece of the Italian Renaissance created in one of the leading schools in Mantua or Ferrara

Book of Hours of Galeotto Pico della Mirandola

Italy — Between 1496 and 1499

Book of Hours of Galeotto Pico della Mirandola

Book of Hours of Galeotto Pico della Mirandola

Italy — Between 1496 and 1499

  1. Galeotto Pico I (1442–99), Lord of Mirandola, commissioned this masterpiece of Italian Renaissance art ca. 1496

  2. The extensive illumination consists inter alia of a variety of plants and animals with rich colors and gold leaf

  3. All is contained in a sumptuous velvet binding with gilded filigree fittings, lapis lazuli, and rose quartzes

Mirandola Stundenbuch

Book of Hours of Galeotto Pico della Mirandola

Crucifixion

The Three Marys are pictured lamenting at the base of the cross as Christ’s corpse hangs limply: the Virgin Mary, Mary Magdalene, and Mary of Clopas. All three are depicted with individual facial features, but all share the same look of shock and horror on their faces. The employment of gold leaf has been especially well executed, particularly the way in which it is used to highlight the wood grain of the cross. In the distant background, the skyline of Jerusalem can be seen.

Book of Hours of Galeotto Pico della Mirandola

Alternative Titles:
  • Libro d'ore di Galeotto Pico della Mirandola
  • Stundenbuch des Pico della Mirandola
  • Mirandola Stundenbuch
Book of Hours of Galeotto Pico della Mirandola – MS. Add. 50002 – British Library (London, United Kingdom)
Book of Hours of Galeotto Pico della Mirandola – MS. Add. 50002 – British Library (London, United Kingdom)
Book of Hours of Galeotto Pico della Mirandola – MS. Add. 50002 – British Library (London, United Kingdom)
Book of Hours of Galeotto Pico della Mirandola – MS. Add. 50002 – British Library (London, United Kingdom)
Book of Hours of Galeotto Pico della Mirandola – MS. Add. 50002 – British Library (London, United Kingdom)
Book of Hours of Galeotto Pico della Mirandola – MS. Add. 50002 – British Library (London, United Kingdom)
Book of Hours of Galeotto Pico della Mirandola – MS. Add. 50002 – British Library (London, United Kingdom)
Book of Hours of Galeotto Pico della Mirandola – MS. Add. 50002 – British Library (London, United Kingdom)
Book of Hours of Galeotto Pico della Mirandola – MS. Add. 50002 – British Library (London, United Kingdom)
Book of Hours of Galeotto Pico della Mirandola – MS. Add. 50002 – British Library (London, United Kingdom)
Book of Hours of Galeotto Pico della Mirandola – MS. Add. 50002 – British Library (London, United Kingdom)
Book of Hours of Galeotto Pico della Mirandola – MS. Add. 50002 – British Library (London, United Kingdom)
Book of Hours of Galeotto Pico della Mirandola – MS. Add. 50002 – British Library (London, United Kingdom)
Book of Hours of Galeotto Pico della Mirandola – MS. Add. 50002 – British Library (London, United Kingdom)
Book of Hours of Galeotto Pico della Mirandola – MS. Add. 50002 – British Library (London, United Kingdom)
Book of Hours of Galeotto Pico della Mirandola – MS. Add. 50002 – British Library (London, United Kingdom)
Book of Hours of Galeotto Pico della Mirandola – MS. Add. 50002 – British Library (London, United Kingdom)
Book of Hours of Galeotto Pico della Mirandola – MS. Add. 50002 – British Library (London, United Kingdom)
Book of Hours of Galeotto Pico della Mirandola – MS. Add. 50002 – British Library (London, United Kingdom)
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  1. Short Description
  2. Codicology

Short Description

The Mirandola Book of Hours originated between 1496 and 1499 in either Mantua or Ferrara, Italy and is a gem of Renaissance illumination. As Lord of Mirandola, Galeotto Pico I (1442–1499) commissioned the book, whose text for private devotion was appended by four full-page and seven smaller miniatures. Furthermore, its 228 pages contains a calendar with pictures of the months and zodiac signs, six initials with scenic depictions, 85 initials in front of lovely landscapes, and an additional 37 initials with inventive, extensive ornaments. The Italian Renaissance painter Giovanni Francesco Maineri, who was primarily employed by the Este family, is most likely responsible for this wealth of splendid paintings. Above all, the pages that are completely filled by luminous miniatures with richly detailed interior spaces invite closer inspection. David is also featured quite often, integrated into the letters in various postures and surrounded by their golden tendrils. Bordures beneath the text with a great variety of birds and deer correspond to their brilliant design.

Book of Hours of Galeotto Pico della Mirandola

An outstanding example of Renaissance illumination is found in the book of hours named after the city of Mirandola, which originated between 1496 and 1499 in Mantua or Ferrara. Its 228 pages contain four full-page and seven smaller miniatures, which illustrate the text of the book for private devotion. Furthermore, it contains a calendar with pictures of the months and zodiac signs, six initials with scenic depictions, 85 initials in front of lovely landscapes, and an additional 37 initials with lively, extensive ornaments**. Galeotto Pico I (1442–1499), the Lord of Mirandola, probably commissioned the marvelous work from the Italian Renaissance painter Giovanni Francesco Maineri, who primarily worked for the Este family.

A Fanciful Variety of Ornaments

The numerous initials, which either come before a scenic background with idyllic landscapes or in combination with elegant golden leafy foliage are particularly inventive. With regard to the historiated initials, it is above all the combination of deep blue and shimmering gold that enchants the beholder. They either rest on a small piece of ground, chained to a barren tree, or are animated to walk by little figurines. The iridescent birds often play on the frames artistically formed from branches for the smaller representations in the lower margin of the page.

Glimmering Miniatures

The four full-page miniatures mark the division of the main sections, which they respectively preface. The scene with the personification of death, which almost casually supports one hand on the hip and holds the scythe on the shoulder in the other, is simultaneously fascinating and eerie. Looking directly at the observer, the skeleton only wears a sort of sash in a magnificent architectural interior that stretches behind it. The frames for this painting consist of numerous death’s heads and slithering snakes. The Annunciation scene with the Angel Gabriel and the Virgin Mary is more carefree. God the Father is above the main scene, and below that is Adam and Eve together with the Tree of Paradise. It's amazing how lavish the use of gold is in these book paintings. Found in ornaments, dresses, and drapery, as well as the background, it contributes significantly to the divine and precious overall impression of the Mirandola Book of Hours.

Codicology

Alternative Titles
Libro d'ore di Galeotto Pico della Mirandola
Stundenbuch des Pico della Mirandola
Mirandola Stundenbuch
Size / Format
228 pages / 18.5 x 13.0 cm
Origin
Italy
Date
Between 1496 and 1499
Language
Illustrations
4 large and 7 smaller miniatures, calender with miniatures of seasonal occupations and signs of the zodiac, 6 historiated initials, 85 Initial letters in front of landscape an 37 initials with large ornament
Artist / School
Mirandola Stundenbuch

Book of Hours of Galeotto Pico della Mirandola

Incipit Page: Office of the Dead

This gorgeous yet eerie incipit page prefaces the prayers that are meant to be recited for the sake of the deceased, especially those in purgatory. As such, it is presented in a sea of macabre imagery in a burnished gold leaf frame with a blue border, which is filled with skulls, bones, snakes, miters, and cardinals’ hats. The text is written alternately in gold and blue ink by a skilled hand.

The primary miniature shows the personification of death looking directly at the beholder with a scythe slung over their shoulder and a black sash. Death is depicted in a magnificent interior with a hand on the hip and posed with quite a bit of swagger for being a skeleton. The medallion miniature at the bottom shows an angel proclaiming the Good News to the dead.

1 available facsimile edition(s) of „Book of Hours of Galeotto Pico della Mirandola“

Mirandola Stundenbuch
Book of Hours of Galeotto Pico della Mirandola – MS. Add. 50002 – British Library (London, United Kingdom)
Book of Hours of Galeotto Pico della Mirandola – MS. Add. 50002 – British Library (London, United Kingdom)
Book of Hours of Galeotto Pico della Mirandola – MS. Add. 50002 – British Library (London, United Kingdom)
Book of Hours of Galeotto Pico della Mirandola – MS. Add. 50002 – British Library (London, United Kingdom)
Book of Hours of Galeotto Pico della Mirandola – MS. Add. 50002 – British Library (London, United Kingdom)
Book of Hours of Galeotto Pico della Mirandola – MS. Add. 50002 – British Library (London, United Kingdom)
Book of Hours of Galeotto Pico della Mirandola – MS. Add. 50002 – British Library (London, United Kingdom)
Book of Hours of Galeotto Pico della Mirandola – MS. Add. 50002 – British Library (London, United Kingdom)
Book of Hours of Galeotto Pico della Mirandola – MS. Add. 50002 – British Library (London, United Kingdom)
Book of Hours of Galeotto Pico della Mirandola – MS. Add. 50002 – British Library (London, United Kingdom)
Book of Hours of Galeotto Pico della Mirandola – MS. Add. 50002 – British Library (London, United Kingdom)
Book of Hours of Galeotto Pico della Mirandola – MS. Add. 50002 – British Library (London, United Kingdom)
Book of Hours of Galeotto Pico della Mirandola – MS. Add. 50002 – British Library (London, United Kingdom)
Book of Hours of Galeotto Pico della Mirandola – MS. Add. 50002 – British Library (London, United Kingdom)
Book of Hours of Galeotto Pico della Mirandola – MS. Add. 50002 – British Library (London, United Kingdom)
Book of Hours of Galeotto Pico della Mirandola – MS. Add. 50002 – British Library (London, United Kingdom)
Book of Hours of Galeotto Pico della Mirandola – MS. Add. 50002 – British Library (London, United Kingdom)
Book of Hours of Galeotto Pico della Mirandola – MS. Add. 50002 – British Library (London, United Kingdom)
Book of Hours of Galeotto Pico della Mirandola – MS. Add. 50002 – British Library (London, United Kingdom)
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Mirandola Stundenbuch

1 volume: Exact reproduction of the original document (extent, color and size)
Publisher
Coron Verlag – Gütersloh, 1995
Limited Edition
1495 copies
Binding
Extraordinary violet velvet binding, with gilded silver filigree work bosses and ferrules. The covers also feature a large lapis lazuli and four rose quartzes. Gilt edges.
Commentary
1 volume (144 pages) by Ulrike Bauer-Eberhardt and Christopher de Hamel
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.
Price Category: €€ (1,000€ - 3,000€)
Edition available
Price: Login here!
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