Medici-Rothschild Hours

Medici-Rothschild Hours

Florence (Italy) — 1488

A masterpiece of the Renaissance: the wedding present from Lorenzo de’ Medici to his daughter Magdalena

  1. The work was a wedding present for Magdalena, the second born daughter of Lorenzo de' Medici (1449–92)

  2. Lorenzo commissioned two splendid manuscripts for his daughters with very similar contents

  3. The highly-coveted manuscript became a part of the famous Rothschild Collection in the 19th century

Medici-Rothschild Hours

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  1. Description
  2. Detail Picture
  3. Single Page
  4. Facsimile Editions (2)
Description
Medici-Rothschild Hours

The Medici-Rothschild Hours was produced by Mariano des Buono and other famous Florentine illuminators ca. 1488. It is the greatest masterpiece of Italian book art. The work was made for Magdalena, the second born daughter of Lorenzo de Medici. It was presented to her as a gift on the occasion of her prestigious marriage to Franceschetto Cybo, the illegitimate son of Pope Innocent VIII.

Medici-Rothschild Hours

In the year 1485, the great Renaissance prince Lorenzo de Medici commissioned three luxurious books of hours. Each of these was to be given to his three daughters as wedding gifts. One of these three codices eclipses the overwhelming beauty of the remaining manuscripts. It is the book which was manufactured for Magdalena de Medici. The codex is the masterpiece of Florence’s most gifted illuminators and represents an absolute highpoint of Italian book art at the end of the 15th century. It is illustrated with 27 miniatures that enchant every beholder with their unique quality.

The Daughter of the Medici Family

Of the three books of hours, which the loving father Lorenzo had made for his daughters, the first was given to Lucrezia. Lucrezia married the politician Jacopo Salviati, their wedding present is housed today in the Bayerischen Staatsbibliothek in Munich. The book of hours for his daughter Luisa, who was betrothed with Giovanni di Pierfrancesco, is found today in the Biblioteca Laurenziana in Florence. The second born daughter of the Medici, Maria Magdalena, was the most beloved child of the father. Her nuptials were of fundamental importance to the ruling family. She married the illegitimate son of Pope Innocent VIII, Franceschetto Cybo. The wedding did not just bring the Medici prestige and honor. It also allowed Lorenzo de Medici to build a good relationship with the pontiff and thereby with the ecclesiastical and temporal leader of the medieval world. The unbelievable richly designed book of hours, that was presented to Magdalena for her prestigious marriage, is found today in Waddesdon Manor in England and is part of the famous Rothschild Collection.

Book Adornment of a Unique Quality

The personal prayer book of Magdalena de Medici is one of the most beautiful books of hours that was produced during the Italian Renaissance. It was furnished with breathtaking illustrations in an outstanding collaboration by some of the greatest Florentine illuminators, Mariano del Buono among them. 27 full-page miniatures adorn the splendid manuscript. 12 pages are dedicated to a wondrous calendar. The months show various agricultural labors and additional activities typical for the month before a picturesque background of the Italian alpine landscape. The book opens with a true firework of color on the first seven pages. The motif of a beautiful peacock, the Cybo family symbol, continuously surfaces. The Medici were also symbolized through the depiction of a wild horse and a diamond ring. Numerous historicized initials, richly adorned with silver and gold, round out the decoration of the exceedingly splendid manuscript.

Codicology

Alternative Titles
Il Libro d'Ore di Maddalena de' Medici
Le Ore Medici-Rothschild
Offiziolo di Maddalena
Le Ore Medici-Rothschild
Das Stundenbuch der Medici-Rothschild
Medici-Rothschild-Stundenbuch
Size / Format
470 pages / 15.2 × 9.5 cm
Origin
Italy
Date
1488
Language
Script
Humanist
Illustrations
27 full-page miniatures; 12 calendar pages with labors of the months, numerous historiated initials, and motifs with symbols of the Medici family such as peacocks, wild horses, and diamond rings
Artist / School

Available facsimile editions:
Medici-Rothschild Hours – Ms. 16 – Rothschild Collection at Waddesdon Manor (Aylesbury, United Kingdom)
Franco Cosimo Panini Editore – Modena, 2011
Limited Edition: 400 copies

Le Ore Medici-Rothschild (Silver Binding)
Franco Cosimo Panini Editore – Modena, 2011
Limited Edition: 150 copies
Detail Picture

Medici-Rothschild Hours

October: The Wine Crush

Although depictions of the wine harvest are common for September, the subsequent wine crush is less common, making this artful and boisterous scene very precious. Two people are shown standing in a large vat and crushing grapes with their feet while a third carries a small barrel on his shoulder and a fourth samples the wares – the woman crushing grapes extends her arm asking for a drink. The golden frame surrounding the scene was further surrounded by lovely multicolored acanthus leaves.

Le Ore Medici-Rothschild (Vermeil Binding)
Single Page

Medici-Rothschild Hours

Incipit: Short Hours of the Cross

This incipit page is an incredible kaleidoscope of the fine Italian Renaissance illumination. It is remarkable for the sheer density of its adornment consisting of cherubs, birds, gems, flowers, fruits, and boughs. The “D” initial presents a Pietà scene, Italian for “pity” or “compassion”, depicting the Virgin Mary cradling the dead body of Jesus in the aftermath of the Crucifixion.

14 medallion miniatures in golden frames, some in barbed quatrefoils, cover the margins of the page and portray various saints and prophets. The largest of them contains a splendid peacock, the heraldic device of Franceschetto Cybo, Magdalena Medici’s betrothed. Despite the prevalence of gold leaf, it is applied with great sophistication and restraint, making the page sparkle.

Le Ore Medici-Rothschild (Vermeil Binding)
Facsimile Editions

#1 Le Ore Medici-Rothschild (Vermeil Binding)

Medici-Rothschild Hours – Ms. 16 – Rothschild Collection at Waddesdon Manor (Aylesbury, United Kingdom)
Medici-Rothschild Hours – Ms. 16 – Rothschild Collection at Waddesdon Manor (Aylesbury, United Kingdom) Copyright Photos: Ziereis Facsimiles

Publisher: Franco Cosimo Panini Editore – Modena, 2011
Limited Edition: 400 copies
Binding: Gilt vermeil binding, covered with red silk velvet and featuring polychrome enamel work (twelve enamel inserts). The Annunciation is represented on the front cover; Mary Magdalene and John the Baptist on the back cover. The gilded binding consists of two wrought frames joined at the spine by five joints and held together by means of two clasps in the form of intertwined cords.
Commentary: 1 volume by Laura Regnicoli
Language: Italian
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: €€€€€ (over 10,000€)
Edition available
Price: Login here!

#2 Le Ore Medici-Rothschild (Silver Binding)

Publisher: Franco Cosimo Panini Editore – Modena, 2011
Limited Edition: 150 copies
Binding: Silver binding, covered with red silk velvet and with polychrome enamel work (twelve enamel inserts). The Annunciation is represented on the front cover; Mary Magdalene and John the Baptist on the back cover. The silver binding consists of two wrought frames joined at the spine by five joints and held together by means of two clasps in the form of intertwined cords.
Commentary: 1 volume by Laura Regnicoli
Language: Italian
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.
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