Book of Hours of Lorenzo de' Medici the Younger

Book of Hours of Lorenzo de' Medici the Younger

Florence (Italy) — ca. 1518

Testimony of the alliance between the French royal family and the rich Medici: a precious wedding gift from Pope Leo X to his nephew Lorenzo II de 'Medici

  1. A magnificent wedding present from Pope Leo X (1475–1521) to his nephew, Lorenzo II de Medici

  2. A testimonial to the historic alliance between the French royal family and the House of Medici

  3. Participating artists include Stefano de Tommaso, Giovanni Boccardi, and Boccardino the Younger

Book of Hours of Lorenzo de' Medici the Younger

Price Category: €€ (1,000€ - 3,000€)
Edition available
Price: Login here!
  1. Description
  2. Detail Picture
  3. Single Page
  4. Facsimile Editions (1)
Description
Book of Hours of Lorenzo de' Medici the Younger

The Book of Hours of Lorenzo de' Medici the Younger is a gem of early 16th century Florentine illumination. It also contains a political component as a wedding gift from Pope Leo X to his nephew Lorenzo II de Medici. The marriage between Lorenzo II de Medici and Madeleine de la Tour d'Auvergne sealed the link between the French royal family and the famous Pope from the house of Medici. The book is in an unusually small format and impresses with its precious décor by the most significant Florentine miniaturists of their time. It is simultaneously a magnificent attestation of an exciting epoch in history!

Book of Hours of Lorenzo de' Medici the Younger

The Book of Hours of Lorenzo de' Medici the Younger is a gem of early 16th century Florentine illumination. It also contains a political component as a wedding gift from Pope Leo X to his nephew Lorenzo II de Medici. The marriage between Lorenzo II de Medici and Madeleine de la Tour d'Auvergne sealed the link between the French royal family and the famous Pope from the house of Medici. The book is in an unusually small format and impresses with its precious décor by the most significant Florentine miniaturists of their time. It is simultaneously a magnificent attestation of an exciting epoch in history!

The Famous Medici Pope

The patron of the wonderful, diminutive book of hours was Pope Leo X (1475–1521). He, as his real name Giovanni di Lorenzo de Medici betrays, was from the Florentine house of Medici. As one of the nine children of Lorenzo the Magnificent, he ascended to the throne of St. Peter in 1513. As Pope Leo X, who loved pomp and an exuberant life, he was a great patron and lover of the arts. He commissioned the manufacture of a precious wedding gift on the occasion of his nephew’s nuptials in 1518.

A Political Wedding

Lorenzo II de Medici (1492–1519) was the son of Piero II de Medici and therefore the nephew of the Pope. In May of 1518, Lorenzo II married Madeleine de la Tour d'Auvergne in French Amboise at the urging of his uncle. This marriage was a symbol of the alliance between Pope Leo X and the French royal house and was highly political as a result. However, the good fortune of Lorenzo II de Medici and his spouse Madeleine de la Tour did not last long. Both would suffer an early death in the year following the wedding, Madeleine in giving birth to their daughter, and Lorenzo not two weeks later as the result of a medical mistreatment. Nevertheless, their only daughter Catherine de Medici would become the wife of King Henry II of France and thus ascend to become the Queen of France!

A Precious Jewel

The book of hours, the couple’s wedding gift, is stored in the collection of the Fundación Lázaro Galdino in Madrid. This precious jewel with 316 pages measuring 4 x 6 cm probably originated in Florence before 1518. Participating artists included Boccardino the Elder and the Younger and Stefano de Tommaso. The Boccardinos or Boccardis were a significant family of miniaturists in Florence in the late–15th and early–16th centuries. Giovanni Boccardi, called Boccardino the Elder, in particular is considered to be perhaps the most significant of this grand epoch of Florentine illumination. The so-called Florentine miniaturist school is still a term indicating the highest quality of illumination today. The Book of Hours of Lorenzo de' Medici the Younger presents this fantastic art with 11 miniatures, 16 pages with ornamental moldings, so-called ‘candeliari,’ and numerous initials. A Flemish influence is also discernable in the miniatures. Naturally, such a prestigious gift is also not lacking in splendid décor with precious gold.

Codicology

Alternative Titles
Book of Hours of the Medicis
Libro de Horas de los Médici
Stundenbuch der Medici
Size / Format
316 pages / 6.0 × 4.0 cm
Origin
Italy
Date
ca. 1518
Language
Script
Humanist
Illustrations
11 full-page miniatures and 16 pages with ornamental borders
Content
Liturgy of the Hours
Artist / School
Previous Owners
Lorenzo de' Medici "the Younger" and his wife Madeleine de la Tour

Available facsimile editions:
Book of Hours of Lorenzo de' Medici the Younger – Ms 13312 – Museo de la Fundación Lázaro Galdiano (Madrid, Spain)
Testimonio Compañía Editorial – Madrid, 1994
Limited Edition: 980 copies
Detail Picture

Book of Hours of Lorenzo de' Medici the Younger

Portrait of Mark the Evangelist

The Gospel of Mark is the oldest chronologically and is arguably the most historically accurate. Saint Mark is depicted with quill in hand writing his Gospel and looks off into the distance as if trying to remember something. He is accompanied by his symbol, a winged lion, which represents both Christ as King and the Resurrection because lions were believed to sleep with their eyes open. Furthermore, their fearlessness was an example for Christians to be courageous in their faith.

Libro de Horas de los Médici
Single Page

Book of Hours of Lorenzo de' Medici the Younger

The Pentecost

This miniature boasts a surprising amount of details, despite only measuring 6 x 4 cm. The miniaturist nonetheless found the space to set it in a typical Renaissance frame with an escutcheon and flowers, some of which morph into drolleries with human faces. Like the halos of the figures in the miniature itself, the frame is highlighted with gold leaf.

In the miniature, a dove, symbolizing the Holy Spirit, flies into an undefined interior space with purple walls through a window or door, entering the 12 Apostles and the Virgin Mary, who sits contemplatively at the center of the composition. All are dressed in classical robes with detailed folds: Mary in her signature blue cloak, with the others wearing wonderful shades of yellow and green.

Libro de Horas de los Médici
Facsimile Editions

#1 Libro de Horas de los Médici

Book of Hours of Lorenzo de' Medici the Younger – Ms 13312 – Museo de la Fundación Lázaro Galdiano (Madrid, Spain)
Book of Hours of Lorenzo de' Medici the Younger – Ms 13312 – Museo de la Fundación Lázaro Galdiano (Madrid, Spain) Copyright Photos: Ziereis Facsimiles

Publisher: Testimonio Compañía Editorial – Madrid, 1994
Limited Edition: 980 copies
Binding: Hand sewn and bound in brown goatskin stamped in silver dry on both sides. Closures faithfully reproduced the original silver. Gilded page edges. Facsimile edition presented in a blue velvet box with the commentary volume.
Commentary: 1 volume (162 pages) by Juana Hidalgo Ogayar
Language: Spanish
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: €€ (1,000€ - 3,000€)
Edition available
Price: Login here!
You might also be interested in:
Duchess Dorothea's Prayer Book
Duchess Dorothea's Prayer Book
Nuremberg (Germany) – 1536

An early print with beautiful bordures painted by Albrecht Glockendon: the personal prayer book of the Protestant Duchess of Prussia

Experience More
German Prayer Book of the Margravine of Brandenburg
German Prayer Book of the Margravine of Brandenburg
Augsburg (Germany) – 1520

Created by 18-year-old Narcissus Renner and his father: a young illuminator and his extraordinarily beautiful, gold-shining miniatures

Experience More
Blog articles worth reading
Filter selection
Publisher