Mayer van den Bergh Breviary

Mayer van den Bergh Breviary Facsimile Edition

Portugal — 1495–1510

Created by or for King Manuel I of Portugal, acquired in 1898 by the collector Fritz Mayer van den Bergh for an enormous sum: an almost untouched masterpiece by the Maximilian Master, Gerard Horenbout, and Gerard David

  1. It was likely commissioned as a gift by or for King Manuel I of Portugal (1469–1521)

  2. Adorned by 80 splendid miniatures including 36 full-pages and 12 labors of the months

  3. Also furnished with 148 decorative borders, 9 historiated initials, and countless smaller initials

Mayer van den Bergh Breviary

Regular price without login (like new)1,480 
Special Offer until 31.01.2022 (like new)999 
  1. Description
  2. Detail Picture
  3. Single Page
  4. Facsimile Editions (1)
Description
Mayer van den Bergh Breviary

Although little is known about the history of this extraordinary Flemish manuscript from ca. 1510–15, its high quality and the instructions in Portuguese it contains point to King Manuel I of Portugal as a possible patron or recipient. This masterpiece was purchased by the art dealer and collector Fritz Mayer van den Bergh in 1898 for the enormous sum of 35,500 francs. The Mayer van den Bergh Breviary has survived to the present in remarkably pristine condition, indicating that it was little used and remained safely stored for most of the last 500 years. Its artistic program consists of about 80 miniatures including 36 full-page miniatures, 12 labors of the month in the calendar, 148 decorative borders, 9 historiated initials, and countless smaller initials. This splendor is the result of the collective efforts of some of the finest miniaturists of the Ghent-Bruges school including the Maximilian Master, Master of James IV of Scotland, Gerard Horenbout, and Gerard David.

Codicology

Alternative Titles
Mayer van den Bergh Brevier
Breviarium Mayer van den Bergh
Breviary of the Mayer van den Bergh
Size / Format
1412 pages / 22.4 × 16.0 cm
Origin
Portugal
Date
1495–1510
Illustrations
36 full-page miniatures, 12 illuminated calendar pages, 20 small miniatures, 9 historiated initials, 148 decorative borders
Artist / School
Previous Owners
Martin Heckscher
Kunstgewerbemuseum in Berlin
Fritz Mayer van den Bergh
H. Wareham Harding

Available facsimile editions:
The Breviary of the Mayer van den Bergh  Facsimile Edition
C. Weckesser – Brussels, 1932
Limited Edition: 300 copies
Detail Picture

Mayer van den Bergh Breviary

Joseph is Sold by His Brothers

Angered by their father Jacob’s favoritism toward his eleventh son, Joseph’s half-brothers began to plot against him. They first threw him into a dry well with the intention of killing him but changed their minds when they saw a camel caravan of merchants carrying spices to Egypt and decided to sell their brother to them for twenty shekels of silver instead. Joseph is depicted here struggling with two of his brothers as they pull him up out of the well and hand him over to the merchants.

The Breviary of the Mayer van den Bergh
Single Page

Mayer van den Bergh Breviary

Saint Catherine

This magnificent full-page miniature is a fine testimonial to the great skill of Gerard David, who was a true master when it came to depicting garments such as St. Catherine’s flowing dress. She is seated on the ground next to two of the symbols associated with her: the spiked breaking wheel upon which she was to be tortured but shattered at her touch and the sword with which she was finally executed.

As is typical, the unmarried girl is shown with long, unbound blonde hair and is richly dressed and crowned befitting her rank as a princess. Catherine is attended by a crowd of angels, the “celestial court”. Presented in a splendid floral frame with a strawberry and butterfly, the scene is set in the inner courtyard of a castle.

The Breviary of the Mayer van den Bergh
Facsimile Editions

#1 The Breviary of the Mayer van den Bergh

C. Weckesser – Brussels, 1932
The Breviary of the Mayer van den Bergh  Facsimile Edition
The Breviary of the Mayer van den Bergh Facsimile Edition Copyright Photos: Ziereis Facsimiles

Publisher: C. Weckesser – Brussels, 1932
Limited Edition: 300 copies
Binding: Linen binding
Commentary: 1 volume by Camille Gaspar, Martin Heckscher and E. M. Haynes
Language: English
1 volume: This facsimile is not complete. Reproduction of the miniature pages
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