De Aetatibus Mundi Imagines

De Aetatibus Mundi Imagines Facsimile Edition

Évora/Lisbon (Portugal) — 1540–1573

First Michelangelo's pupil, then one of the greatest artists of the Iberian Renaissance: Francisco de Holanda's uniquely illuminated world chronicle

  1. Francisco de Holanda (1517–85) was sent to Italy by the king of Portugal to study under Michelangelo (1475–1564)

  2. These two years of instruction turned him into one of Renaissance Iberia's greatest artists

  3. He drew from a wide variety of courses to create the incredible images for his world chronicle

De Aetatibus Mundi Imagines

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De Aetatibus Mundi Imagines

Sent to Italy at the behest of the Portuguese king, Francisco de Holanda, under the tutelage of the great Michelangelo, became one of the greatest Renaissance artists of the Iberian Peninsula. By drawing from a number of sources both Christian and pagan, ancient and contemporary, he created an image world for his history of the world that is as refined in its artistry as it is charged with meaning and symbolism. Thus, the six Ages of the world are presented in an innovative and unique kaleidoscope of imagery.

De Aetatibus Mundi Imagines

De Aetatibus Mundi Imagines is the chronicle in images of the ages of the world, although this is the main reason to present, with subtle irony, our temporary reality. Eternity is the only enemy able to beat time. Life is fleeting, a world full of grey tones as time passes. In contrast, eternity, shown as a life in full color, is a perfect world. The techniques employed in the drawings are watercolors and washes. It is a book full of overpowering images, loaded with allegorical and historical references, with a strength and vigor that make it hard to believe that they were made in the 16th century because of the validity and modernity of the artistic vision of Francisco de Holanda.

A Renaissance Education

Francisco de Holanda was sent to Italy by an explicit order of the king of Portugal in order to learn the new art of the Renaissance. As luck would have it, Michelangelo taught him for two years and turned him into one of the most outstanding Renaissance artists from the Iberian Peninsula when he returned in 1540. Michelangelo’s influence is obvious; the first thing Francisco de Holanda painted was the creation of the world, inspired by what he could examine still unfinished in the Sistine Chapel.

An Amalgamation of World History

The rich imagery of the manuscript presents the history of the world in six Ages in the tradition of biblical histories. However, the imagery is not strictly biblical in its inspiration, but are more complex and draw from a number of sources, including pagan sources, the early Church Fathers, Christian poets from Late Antiquity, and contemporary works like the Chronicles of Nuremberg and the Chronologia by Nicolau Coelho do Amaral. This mélange of artistic inspiration allowed the Renaissance master to realize the fullness of his imagination and create images that equally beautiful and charged with meaning.


Size / Format
178 pages / 43.0 × 30.0 cm
170 drawings in gouaches and washes
Chronicle in images of the ages of the world
Artist / School

Available facsimile editions:
De Aetatibus Mundi Imagines – Dib. 14 -26 – Biblioteca Nacional de España (Madrid, Spain) Facsimile Edition
BiblioGemma – Barcelona, 2007
Limited Edition: 995 copies
Detail Picture

De Aetatibus Mundi Imagines

The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse

Revelation 6 contains some of the most powerful imagery of the Apocalypse: the Four Horsemen. Although not an exact copy, the image is strongly reminiscent of a famous woodcut by Albrecht Dürer, especially with regard to the arrangement of the horsemen. This unfinished, uncolored miniature allows us an inside glimpse into the production process and reveals the masterful pen strokes underlying the gorgeous miniatures in this manuscript, especially with regard to gestures and facial features.

De Aetatibus Mundi Imagines
Single Page

De Aetatibus Mundi Imagines

Resurrection of Jesus

This subtly colored miniature encapsulates the events of the Resurrection and combines several scenes into one. In the foreground, the risen Christ presents himself to a female follower with a jar of ointment, most likely Mary Magdalene, and bears the wounds of his Crucifixion. The Messiah is crowned with a laurel wreath, symbolizing his victory over death.

To the right, we see Christ’s empty tomb, where his followers are met by an angel informing them of the Resurrection. In the distance on the left, representing the past, we see the Annunciation, which set the saga of salvation into motion. The uncolored medallion miniatures at the bottom show his disciples spreading the good news of the resurrection to the gentiles.

De Aetatibus Mundi Imagines
Facsimile Editions

#1 De Aetatibus Mundi Imagines

BiblioGemma – Barcelona, 2007
De Aetatibus Mundi Imagines – Dib. 14 -26 – Biblioteca Nacional de España (Madrid, Spain) Facsimile Edition
De Aetatibus Mundi Imagines – Dib. 14 -26 – Biblioteca Nacional de España (Madrid, Spain) Facsimile Edition Copyright Photos: Ziereis Facsimiles

Publisher: BiblioGemma – Barcelona, 2007
Limited Edition: 995 copies
Binding: The binding is made of crimson natural silk velvet
Commentary: 1 volume by Sylvie Deswarte-Rosa, José Saramago and Gregorio Solera
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: €€€ (3,000€ - 7,000€)
Edition available
Price: Login here!
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