The Bible in monumental images commissioned by Cardinal Alessandro Farnese: the magnificent Lectionary created by Giulio Clovio for use in the Sistine Chapel

Farnese Lectionary

Rome (Italy) — 1550–1560

Farnese Lectionary

Farnese Lectionary

Rome (Italy) — 1550–1560

  1. Cardinal Alessandro Farnese (1520–89) commissioned a magnificent lectionary for ceremonial use in the Sistine Chapel

  2. The ostentatious work was created by Giulio Clovio (1498–1578), the most talented miniaturist of the Italian Renaissance

  3. Monumental biblical scenes are surrounded by luminous golden frames with cherubs, masks, and flowers

Farnese Lectionary

Ms. MA 91 (Towneley Lectionary) Public Library (New York, USA)
Alternative Titles:
  • Lezionario Farnese
  • Towneley Lectionary
  • Farnese-Lektionar
Farnese Lectionary – Ms. MA 91 (Towneley Lectionary) – Public Library (New York, USA)
Farnese Lectionary – Ms. MA 91 (Towneley Lectionary) – Public Library (New York, USA)
Farnese Lectionary – Ms. MA 91 (Towneley Lectionary) – Public Library (New York, USA)
Farnese Lectionary – Ms. MA 91 (Towneley Lectionary) – Public Library (New York, USA)
Farnese Lectionary – Ms. MA 91 (Towneley Lectionary) – Public Library (New York, USA)
Farnese Lectionary – Ms. MA 91 (Towneley Lectionary) – Public Library (New York, USA)
Farnese Lectionary – Ms. MA 91 (Towneley Lectionary) – Public Library (New York, USA)
Farnese Lectionary – Ms. MA 91 (Towneley Lectionary) – Public Library (New York, USA)
Farnese Lectionary – Ms. MA 91 (Towneley Lectionary) – Public Library (New York, USA)
Farnese Lectionary – Ms. MA 91 (Towneley Lectionary) – Public Library (New York, USA)
Farnese Lectionary – Ms. MA 91 (Towneley Lectionary) – Public Library (New York, USA)
Farnese Lectionary – Ms. MA 91 (Towneley Lectionary) – Public Library (New York, USA)
Farnese Lectionary – Ms. MA 91 (Towneley Lectionary) – Public Library (New York, USA)
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  1. Short Description
  2. Codicology

Short Description

The Farnese Lectionary was made in Rome between 1550 and 1560. It was commissioned by Cardinal Allesandro Farnese and was illuminated by the famous illuminator Giulio Clovio. The work is one of the most splendid liturgical manuscripts altogether, and was read by popes and other princes of the church for ritual ceremonies in the Sistine Chapel.

Farnese Lectionary

Sometime around the middle of the 16th century, an unusually monumental, opulently furnished manuscript was produced in Rome. It was a richly adorned lectionary that was commissioned by Cardinal Alessandro Farnese and designed by the famous book master Giulio Clovio. The liturgical manuscript remained in the Sistine Chapel for centuries and was employed by popes and other princes of the church in ritual church ceremonies. It is embellished with full-page, painting-like miniatures and boundlessly fanciful decorative elements.

A Milestone of Liturgical Manuscripts

A lectionary is a liturgical book that contains the biblical readings in the course of the church year for the performance of divine services. This type of book existed since the end of the 15th century. Numerous, beautifully designed, handwritten lectionaries were manufactured in the Middle Ages. Almost no other can compete with the breathtaking pictorial decoration of the Farnese Lectionary. Cardinal Farnese commissioned an incomprehensibly ostentatious work that was intended for reading in the Sistine Chapel. Famous people received the holy mass from this very manuscript, which found itself for a time in the possession of the English noble family of Towneley. Today, the valuable original edition of the manuscript is housed in the New York Public Library.

Masterworks of a Famous Artist

The high-quality illustrated manuscript represents one of the greatest masterpieces of the book artist Giulio Clovio. The Croatian painter Clovio is considered to be one of the most famous illuminators of the Late Renaissance and as one of the last great masters of the illuminated manuscript. His astounding, whole-page miniatures in the Farnese Lectionary show monumental biblical scenes and are surrounded by luminous golden frames animated with cherubs, masks, and flowers. The pictures are distinctly reminiscent of the painting of the great Renaissance masters, in particular Michelangelo and Raphael. Giorgio Vasari, probably the first and most important art historian, described Clovio in his Vite as a small Michelangelo.

Codicology

Alternative Titles
Lezionario Farnese
Towneley Lectionary
Farnese-Lektionar
Size / Format
64 pages / 48.7 × 33.8 cm
Date
1550–1560
Language
Artist / School
Previous Owners

2 available facsimile edition(s) of „Farnese Lectionary“

Lezionario Farnese (Silver Binding)
Farnese Lectionary – Ms. MA 91 (Towneley Lectionary) – Public Library (New York, USA)
Farnese Lectionary – Ms. MA 91 (Towneley Lectionary) – Public Library (New York, USA)
Farnese Lectionary – Ms. MA 91 (Towneley Lectionary) – Public Library (New York, USA)
Farnese Lectionary – Ms. MA 91 (Towneley Lectionary) – Public Library (New York, USA)
Farnese Lectionary – Ms. MA 91 (Towneley Lectionary) – Public Library (New York, USA)
Farnese Lectionary – Ms. MA 91 (Towneley Lectionary) – Public Library (New York, USA)
Farnese Lectionary – Ms. MA 91 (Towneley Lectionary) – Public Library (New York, USA)
Farnese Lectionary – Ms. MA 91 (Towneley Lectionary) – Public Library (New York, USA)
Farnese Lectionary – Ms. MA 91 (Towneley Lectionary) – Public Library (New York, USA)
Farnese Lectionary – Ms. MA 91 (Towneley Lectionary) – Public Library (New York, USA)
Farnese Lectionary – Ms. MA 91 (Towneley Lectionary) – Public Library (New York, USA)
Farnese Lectionary – Ms. MA 91 (Towneley Lectionary) – Public Library (New York, USA)
Farnese Lectionary – Ms. MA 91 (Towneley Lectionary) – Public Library (New York, USA)
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Lezionario Farnese (Silver Binding)

1 volume: Exact reproduction of the original document (extent, color and size)
Publisher
Franco Cosimo Panini Editore – Modena, 2008
Limited Edition
150 copies
Binding
Red velvet with real silver ferrules, clasp strip and coat of arms.
Commentary
1 volume by Jonathan J. G. Alexander, Nicholas Barker, Elena M. Calvillo, Clive Wainwright and Sir Simon Towneley
Language: Italian
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: €€€€€ (over 10,000€)
Edition available
Price: Login here!
Lezionario Farnese (Vermeil Binding)
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Lezionario Farnese (Vermeil Binding)

1 volume: Exact reproduction of the original document (extent, color and size)
Publisher
Franco Cosimo Panini Editore – Modena, 2008
Limited Edition
400 copies
Binding
Red velvet with Vermeil ferrules, clasp strip and coat of arms.
Commentary
1 volume by Jonathan J. G. Alexander, Nicholas Barker, Elena M. Calvillo, Clive Wainwright and Sir Simon Towneley
Language: Italian
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.
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