A magnificent enamel cover and masterful miniatures: a great collaboration between the greatest masters of the Italian Renaissance

Hours of Bonaparte Ghislieri

Bologna (Italy) — 1503

Hours of Bonaparte Ghislieri

Hours of Bonaparte Ghislieri

Bologna (Italy) — 1503

  1. A breathtaking collaboration of the most famous and gifted artists of the Italian Renaissance

  2. Amico Aspertini, Perugino, Lorenza Costa, Francesco Francia, and Matteo da Milano contributed

  3. The frames of the manuscript feature flowers, faces, architectural elements, and gold leaf

Libro d'Ore di Bonaparte Ghislieri

Book of Hours of Perugino

Drolleries

In the golden frame surrounding a splendid portrait of King David, a typical scene for a book of hours, we find some very unusual and extremely fine drolleries, also known as grotesques. These two animal hybrids are presented in a field of blue and red flowers with a fly. An owl stands on its own scaled, snake-like tail and looks directly at the beholder inquisitively as a creature with the head of a peacock, wings of a dragon, spotted body, and two differing pairs of feet lies on a hill.

Hours of Bonaparte Ghislieri

Alternative Titles:
  • Book of Hours of Bonaparte Ghislieri
  • Libro d'Ore di Bonaparte Ghislieri
  • Libro d'Ore del Perugino
  • Stundenbuch des Bonaparte Ghislieri
  • The Albani Hours
Book of Hours of Perugino – Ms. Yates Thompson 29 – British Library (London, United Kingdom)
Book of Hours of Perugino – Ms. Yates Thompson 29 – British Library (London, United Kingdom)
Book of Hours of Perugino – Ms. Yates Thompson 29 – British Library (London, United Kingdom)
Book of Hours of Perugino – Ms. Yates Thompson 29 – British Library (London, United Kingdom)
Book of Hours of Perugino – Ms. Yates Thompson 29 – British Library (London, United Kingdom)
Book of Hours of Perugino – Ms. Yates Thompson 29 – British Library (London, United Kingdom)
Book of Hours of Perugino – Ms. Yates Thompson 29 – British Library (London, United Kingdom)
Book of Hours of Perugino – Ms. Yates Thompson 29 – British Library (London, United Kingdom)
Book of Hours of Perugino – Ms. Yates Thompson 29 – British Library (London, United Kingdom)
Book of Hours of Perugino – Ms. Yates Thompson 29 – British Library (London, United Kingdom)
Book of Hours of Perugino – Ms. Yates Thompson 29 – British Library (London, United Kingdom)
Book of Hours of Perugino – Ms. Yates Thompson 29 – British Library (London, United Kingdom)
Book of Hours of Perugino – Ms. Yates Thompson 29 – British Library (London, United Kingdom)
Book of Hours of Perugino – Ms. Yates Thompson 29 – British Library (London, United Kingdom)
Book of Hours of Perugino – Ms. Yates Thompson 29 – British Library (London, United Kingdom)
Book of Hours of Perugino – Ms. Yates Thompson 29 – British Library (London, United Kingdom)
Book of Hours of Perugino – Ms. Yates Thompson 29 – British Library (London, United Kingdom)
Book of Hours of Perugino – Ms. Yates Thompson 29 – British Library (London, United Kingdom)
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  1. Short Description
  2. Codicology

Short Description

The Book of Hours of Perugino was made by some of the most famous artists of the Italian Renaissance ca. 1503. The prayer book, which was used for private masses and meditation, contains an incredible variety of illumination. Alongside full-page, painting-like miniatures and interesting frames, the pages of the work are adorned with numerous illustrated initials.

Book of Hours of Perugino

The artfully designed illuminated manuscript reached a highpoint during the Renaissance. Numerous scribes and miniaturists, particularly from the Italian cultural capitals of Florence and Milan, created precious and unforgettable works during that time, some of which are still preserved for us today. The Book of Hours of Perugino originated from a breathtaking collaboration among the most famous and gifted artists of the Italian Renaissance. The personal devotional book was originally adorned with 5 full-page miniatures from 5 painters, who are counted among the the best of the European art community. Alongside full-page miniatures, the pages of the book of hours are decorated with outstandingly designed initials and colorful medallions embellished with gold.

The Love of Art in the Renaissance

During the time of the Renaissance, Italy reached a true cultural golden age that completely revolutionized the spheres of music, literature, painting, theater, as well as scholarship and technology. The great princes of the Renaissance placed great value on a highly-educated court environment, the greatest artists were employed at Renaissance courts. The Ghislieri, a noble family from Bologna, were known as collectors of precious art and literature. Bonaparte Ghislieri, a scion of the family, commissioned a book of hours at the beginning of the 16th century that was supposed to bring together the work of some of the most famous and recognizable artists of the period. Each of the distinguished illuminators was to contribute one full-page of a biblical scene. The participants were Amico Aspertini, who designed a scene of the Adoration of the Shepherds, Perugino painted the picture of Saint Sebastian, Lorenza Costa scenically depicted King David with a cithara, Francesco Francia produced a miniature of St. Jerome, and Matteo da Milano presumably painted an Annunciation scene, though this was later removed from the finished work.

Creative Highpoints

The impressive miniatures of the book of hours appear like small panel paintings and stagger each of their beholders. The decorative frames of the pictures are particularly admirable. Each frame was furnished richly and elaborately with an astounding variety of patterns: flowers, faces, architectural elements, and the employment of gold leaf. The pages downright shimmer and sparkle. A few pages are surrounded with depictions of grotesque visages with graceful, bizarre figures reminiscent of the famous visual décor of the grottos on the Esquiline hill in Rome. Similarly, the illuminators were inspired by the artworks of the Domus Aurea, the “golden house” of Emperor Nero, discovered in 1480. The Book of Hours of Perugino is a charming work that combines the most varied artistic achievements of Italy with one another in a superb manner. Today, the precious book can be found in the British Library in London.

Codicology

Alternative Titles
Book of Hours of Bonaparte Ghislieri
Libro d'Ore di Bonaparte Ghislieri
Libro d'Ore del Perugino
Stundenbuch des Bonaparte Ghislieri
The Albani Hours
Size / Format
274 pages / 20.7 × 14.5 cm
Date
1503
Language
Script
Humanistic
Illustrations
32 pages of illustrations and more than 1,000 gilded initials including 12 roundels with portraits of saints in the lower margins of the calendar, 5 full-page miniatures, 15 large historiated initials, full and partial borders with foliage, architecture, scrollwork, and other décor throughout
Content
Book of Hours, Use of Rome; Calendar; Psalm 90; Hours of the Virgin plus Advent and Christmas; Mass of the Virgin Mary; Seven Penitential Psalms with Litany and prayers; Hours of the Cross; Hours of the Holy Spirit
Artist / School
Previous Owners
Libro d'Ore di Bonaparte Ghislieri

Book of Hours of Perugino

Adoration of the Shepherds

Amico Aspertini rendered this typical scene in a truly masterful way, beginning with the rich frame, which artfully presents floral motifs and classical references against a black background. The faces of the figures in the foreground are realistic, unique, and expressive. Their bodies and the way their garments hang on them are similarly true to life.

Joseph is depicted in a red cloak, Mary in her signature blue, both their halos and their garments are wonderfully accented with gold. They can be seen in the background as well, just above the Virgin, presumably on their way to Bethlehem because only two halos are visible – Christ is not yet born. The attention of the various groups in the background is focused on events in the foreground.

1 available facsimile edition(s) of „Hours of Bonaparte Ghislieri“

Libro d'Ore di Bonaparte Ghislieri
Book of Hours of Perugino – Ms. Yates Thompson 29 – British Library (London, United Kingdom)
Book of Hours of Perugino – Ms. Yates Thompson 29 – British Library (London, United Kingdom)
Book of Hours of Perugino – Ms. Yates Thompson 29 – British Library (London, United Kingdom)
Book of Hours of Perugino – Ms. Yates Thompson 29 – British Library (London, United Kingdom)
Book of Hours of Perugino – Ms. Yates Thompson 29 – British Library (London, United Kingdom)
Book of Hours of Perugino – Ms. Yates Thompson 29 – British Library (London, United Kingdom)
Book of Hours of Perugino – Ms. Yates Thompson 29 – British Library (London, United Kingdom)
Book of Hours of Perugino – Ms. Yates Thompson 29 – British Library (London, United Kingdom)
Book of Hours of Perugino – Ms. Yates Thompson 29 – British Library (London, United Kingdom)
Book of Hours of Perugino – Ms. Yates Thompson 29 – British Library (London, United Kingdom)
Book of Hours of Perugino – Ms. Yates Thompson 29 – British Library (London, United Kingdom)
Book of Hours of Perugino – Ms. Yates Thompson 29 – British Library (London, United Kingdom)
Book of Hours of Perugino – Ms. Yates Thompson 29 – British Library (London, United Kingdom)
Book of Hours of Perugino – Ms. Yates Thompson 29 – British Library (London, United Kingdom)
Book of Hours of Perugino – Ms. Yates Thompson 29 – British Library (London, United Kingdom)
Book of Hours of Perugino – Ms. Yates Thompson 29 – British Library (London, United Kingdom)
Book of Hours of Perugino – Ms. Yates Thompson 29 – British Library (London, United Kingdom)
Book of Hours of Perugino – Ms. Yates Thompson 29 – British Library (London, United Kingdom)
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Libro d'Ore di Bonaparte Ghislieri

1 volume: Exact reproduction of the original document (extent, color and size)
Publisher
Franco Cosimo Panini Editore – Modena, 2008
Limited Edition
980 copies
Binding
Morocco binding adorned with two bezels and two centrally positioned roundels for the figures of the annunciation. Claps in solid silber.
Commentary
1 volume (240 pages) by Giancarlo Benevolo, Peter Kidd, and Massimo Medica
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.
Regular price without login (like new)3,090 €
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