Over 1,000 figures, animals, and plants: a masterpiece of the French Renaissance by an unknown hand

Liber Horarum Rothomagensis

Rouen (France) — 15th or early 16th century

Liber Horarum Rothomagensis

Liber Horarum Rothomagensis

Rouen (France) — 15th or early 16th century

  1. Neither the patron nor the artist of this codex, a masterpiece of the Early French Renaissance, is known

  2. Rich floral décor and a total of over 1,000 figures, animals, and plants are proudly featured on 260 pages

  3. They are all furnished with very liberal gold adornment, defining the overall composition of the manuscript

Liber Horarum Rothomagensis (Libro de Horas de Nuestra Señora de Montserrat)

Liber Horarum Rothomagensis

Pentecost

The Pentecost was an event when the Holy Spirit descended upon the Twelve Apostles as described in the Book of Acts, traditionally regarded as the birth of the early Church. A dove symbolizing the Holy Spirit radiates golden rays upon the crowd of haloed faces, who look up in wonder, except for the Virgin Mary who is squarely in the center of the image, hands held up in prayer. The liberal use of gold in the miniature instills a sense of awe in all who behold this miraculous event.

Liber Horarum Rothomagensis

Alternative Titles:
  • Libro de horas de Montserrat
  • Libro de Horas de Nuestra Señora de Montserrat
  • Stundenbuch von Montserrat
Liber Horarum Rothomagensis – Ms. 851 – Biblioteca de la Abadía (Montserrat, Spain)
Liber Horarum Rothomagensis – Ms. 851 – Biblioteca de la Abadía (Montserrat, Spain)
Liber Horarum Rothomagensis – Ms. 851 – Biblioteca de la Abadía (Montserrat, Spain)
Liber Horarum Rothomagensis – Ms. 851 – Biblioteca de la Abadía (Montserrat, Spain)
Liber Horarum Rothomagensis – Ms. 851 – Biblioteca de la Abadía (Montserrat, Spain)
Liber Horarum Rothomagensis – Ms. 851 – Biblioteca de la Abadía (Montserrat, Spain)
Liber Horarum Rothomagensis – Ms. 851 – Biblioteca de la Abadía (Montserrat, Spain)
Liber Horarum Rothomagensis – Ms. 851 – Biblioteca de la Abadía (Montserrat, Spain)
Liber Horarum Rothomagensis – Ms. 851 – Biblioteca de la Abadía (Montserrat, Spain)
Liber Horarum Rothomagensis – Ms. 851 – Biblioteca de la Abadía (Montserrat, Spain)
Liber Horarum Rothomagensis – Ms. 851 – Biblioteca de la Abadía (Montserrat, Spain)
Liber Horarum Rothomagensis – Ms. 851 – Biblioteca de la Abadía (Montserrat, Spain)
Liber Horarum Rothomagensis – Ms. 851 – Biblioteca de la Abadía (Montserrat, Spain)
Liber Horarum Rothomagensis – Ms. 851 – Biblioteca de la Abadía (Montserrat, Spain)
Liber Horarum Rothomagensis – Ms. 851 – Biblioteca de la Abadía (Montserrat, Spain)
Liber Horarum Rothomagensis – Ms. 851 – Biblioteca de la Abadía (Montserrat, Spain)
Liber Horarum Rothomagensis – Ms. 851 – Biblioteca de la Abadía (Montserrat, Spain)
Liber Horarum Rothomagensis – Ms. 851 – Biblioteca de la Abadía (Montserrat, Spain)
Liber Horarum Rothomagensis – Ms. 851 – Biblioteca de la Abadía (Montserrat, Spain)
Liber Horarum Rothomagensis – Ms. 851 – Biblioteca de la Abadía (Montserrat, Spain)
Liber Horarum Rothomagensis – Ms. 851 – Biblioteca de la Abadía (Montserrat, Spain)
Liber Horarum Rothomagensis – Ms. 851 – Biblioteca de la Abadía (Montserrat, Spain)
Liber Horarum Rothomagensis – Ms. 851 – Biblioteca de la Abadía (Montserrat, Spain)
Liber Horarum Rothomagensis – Ms. 851 – Biblioteca de la Abadía (Montserrat, Spain)
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  1. Short Description
  2. Codicology

Short Description

The Liber Horarum Rothomagensis is a book with many secrets. Neither its patron nor its artist is known. It can be said with certainty, however, that it is a manuscript of unbelievable beauty. 48 full-page miniatures, rich floral décor, and a total of over 1,000 figures, animals, and plants are proudly featured on 260 pages. They are all furnished with very liberal gold adornment, defining the overall composition of the manuscript. The artist employed gold accents for the figures, their clothing, and the architectural details in the background. The content of the cycles, which is dated to the 15th or rather the early 16th century, places its focus on the Mother of God. She invariably occupies the central position of the miniatures.

Liber Horarum Rothomagensis

The Liber Horarum Rothomagensis casts a spell on the beholder with its 48 full-page miniatures altogether. Adding to it are radiant floral décor and hundreds of gilded initials and calendar pages. The count of more than 1,000 figures, animals, and plants that enliven the miniatures is additionally impressive. The text of the book contains the liturgy of the hours. These were intended for the laity above all, but clerics also belonged among the recipients of book of hours later on. Unfortunately in this case, nothing certain can be said about its patron, but its precious décor indicates that they must have originated from the circles of rich and literate nobles.

A Book with Secrets

The question of the artist responsible for the splendid miniatures remains equally open. What can be known for certain, is that he was active in the Rouen school in northern France. We could possibly be dealing with the master of the Petrarch’s Trionfi and the Hours of Anne de Bretagne. Chronologically, the book of hours can be dated to the 15th or early 16th century.

The Mother of God at the Center

One thing will quickly become clear to the beholder of the welcoming miniatures: the rich image cycle is focused on the Virgin Mary. The artist devotes particular attention to her, in that he mostly consigns the central position to her. In the Nativity scene, she stands in the foreground with clearly youthful beauty, in contrast to the old-looking Joseph. Her luxurious cloak not only takes up much of the visual space, but also touches the naked boy turned toward her.

Favorite Color: Gold

There is gold wherever one looks. The uniqueness of the manuscript is surely because of its remarkably rich gold décor. Nonetheless, it is not only the initials and bordures that are thus accentuated, but also the miniatures themselves. The contour drawing of the garments, halos, and other visual elements are furnished with gold. That the artist realized such a breathtaking effect is a particular means of expressing its value.

Codicology

Alternative Titles
Libro de horas de Montserrat
Libro de Horas de Nuestra Señora de Montserrat
Stundenbuch von Montserrat
Size / Format
260 pages / 17.5 x 12.5 cm
Date
15th or early 16th century
Language
Script
Gothic
Illustrations
All of the 260 pages of the manuscript are furnished with miniatures, floral decorations, animals and plants, gilded initials, and calendar pages.
Content
Book of Hours with miniatures focusing mostly on the Virgin Mary, as well as a calendar
Artist / School
Liber Horarum Rothomagensis (Libro de Horas de Nuestra Señora de Montserrat)

Liber Horarum Rothomagensis

Presentation of Jesus in the Temple

This common scene from the early life of Christ depicts a combination of Judaism’s purification rite with the ceremony of the redemption of the firstborn. Kneeling at the altar, the Virgin Mary presents her son to Simeon, the elaborately-dressed high priest. Behind her we see a gray-bearded Joseph and a throng of bystanders, including a bareheaded young woman holding a basket of doves, a common sight in such scenes.

The rich adornment of this page, the application of gold in particular, is contrasted by the dower expressions on all the figures faces – except for Christ who looks tranquil despite his somewhat adult features. Christ, like the women in the scene, is depicted with porcelain skin, unlike the men who have more typical flesh tones.

3 available facsimile edition(s) of „Liber Horarum Rothomagensis“

Liber Horarum Rothomagensis (Libro de Horas de Nuestra Señora de Montserrat)
Liber Horarum Rothomagensis – Ms. 851 – Biblioteca de la Abadía (Montserrat, Spain)
Liber Horarum Rothomagensis – Ms. 851 – Biblioteca de la Abadía (Montserrat, Spain)
Liber Horarum Rothomagensis – Ms. 851 – Biblioteca de la Abadía (Montserrat, Spain)
Liber Horarum Rothomagensis – Ms. 851 – Biblioteca de la Abadía (Montserrat, Spain)
Liber Horarum Rothomagensis – Ms. 851 – Biblioteca de la Abadía (Montserrat, Spain)
Liber Horarum Rothomagensis – Ms. 851 – Biblioteca de la Abadía (Montserrat, Spain)
Liber Horarum Rothomagensis – Ms. 851 – Biblioteca de la Abadía (Montserrat, Spain)
Liber Horarum Rothomagensis – Ms. 851 – Biblioteca de la Abadía (Montserrat, Spain)
Liber Horarum Rothomagensis – Ms. 851 – Biblioteca de la Abadía (Montserrat, Spain)
Liber Horarum Rothomagensis – Ms. 851 – Biblioteca de la Abadía (Montserrat, Spain)
Liber Horarum Rothomagensis – Ms. 851 – Biblioteca de la Abadía (Montserrat, Spain)
Liber Horarum Rothomagensis – Ms. 851 – Biblioteca de la Abadía (Montserrat, Spain)
Liber Horarum Rothomagensis – Ms. 851 – Biblioteca de la Abadía (Montserrat, Spain)
Liber Horarum Rothomagensis – Ms. 851 – Biblioteca de la Abadía (Montserrat, Spain)
Liber Horarum Rothomagensis – Ms. 851 – Biblioteca de la Abadía (Montserrat, Spain)
Liber Horarum Rothomagensis – Ms. 851 – Biblioteca de la Abadía (Montserrat, Spain)
Liber Horarum Rothomagensis – Ms. 851 – Biblioteca de la Abadía (Montserrat, Spain)
Liber Horarum Rothomagensis – Ms. 851 – Biblioteca de la Abadía (Montserrat, Spain)
Liber Horarum Rothomagensis – Ms. 851 – Biblioteca de la Abadía (Montserrat, Spain)
Liber Horarum Rothomagensis – Ms. 851 – Biblioteca de la Abadía (Montserrat, Spain)
Liber Horarum Rothomagensis – Ms. 851 – Biblioteca de la Abadía (Montserrat, Spain)
Liber Horarum Rothomagensis – Ms. 851 – Biblioteca de la Abadía (Montserrat, Spain)
Liber Horarum Rothomagensis – Ms. 851 – Biblioteca de la Abadía (Montserrat, Spain)
Liber Horarum Rothomagensis – Ms. 851 – Biblioteca de la Abadía (Montserrat, Spain)
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Liber Horarum Rothomagensis (Libro de Horas de Nuestra Señora de Montserrat)

1 volume: Exact reproduction of the original document (extent, color and size)
Publisher
CM Editores – Salamanca, 2014
Binding
Red silk-velvet binding featuring original motifs: Gold-colored metal plates on the front and back covers with a specially-manufactured "pergamento stucco" impression by Fedrigoni and a "cracked" gold stamp identical to the original.
Commentary
1 volume
Language: Spanish
More Information
Although the identity of the illuminator is not known, the sophisitication of the artwork indicates that it must have been a gifted master, possibly the Master of the "Triumphs of Petrarca" and the "Book of Hours of the Year of Brittany". This facsimile edition is one of three facsimiles known as "Triptico de Montserrat" (Montserrat Triptych).
Price Category: €€€ (3,000€ - 7,000€)
Edition available
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Triptico de Montserrat (Library Edition)
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Triptico de Montserrat (Library Edition)

3 volumes: Exact reproduction of the original document (extent, color and size)
Publisher
CM Editores – Salamanca, 2014
Commentary
1 volume
Language: Spanish
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.
Triptico de Montserrat (Deluxe Edition)
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Triptico de Montserrat (Deluxe Edition)

3 volumes: Exact reproduction of the original document (extent, color and size)
Publisher
CM Editores – Salamanca, 2014
Binding
Luxury wooden box
Commentary
1 volume
Language: Spanish
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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