Munich-Montserrat Hours

Munich-Montserrat Hours

Bruges (Belgium) — 1535

Furnished with Simon Bening's famous calendar representations: a masterful book of hours for the influential secretary of Emperor Charles V

  1. This small masterpiece of illumination was created for Alonso Idiaquez, secretary of Emperor Charles V (1500–58)

  2. The Flemish miniature painter and illustrator Simon Bening (ca. 1483–1561) was responsible for the artistic décor

  3. The landscapes in the miniatures, especially the labors of the month, are some of the finest ever made

Munich-Montserrat Hours

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

Measuring only 10 x 14 cm, the Munich-Montserrat Hours initially appears completely unremarkable. It presumably originated at the behest of Alonso de Idiaquez (1497–1547), who was the royal secretary for Carlos I of Spain. The Flemish miniature painter and illustrator Simon Bening was responsible for the artistic décor. He adorned the 468 pages of the small book with 19 full-page miniatures as well as numerous historiated initials and ostentatious bordures with floral patterns. His primary focus rested on the natural depiction of landscapes. Dramatic waves or summery woods make up the backdrops for farmers working in the field, chopping wood, or shearing sheep.

Munich-Montserrat Hours

The small Munich-Montserrat Hours comes from the Belgian town of Bruges. There it originated ca. 1540, presumably at the behest of Alonso Idiaquez (1497–1547), who was the royal secretary for Carlos I of Spain. The book contains 19 full-page miniatures, 20 small initials, five large historiated initials, and 20 bordures with floral patterns on 468 pages. The extremely detailed paintings originate from Simon Bening (ca. 1483–1561), who was born in either Bruges or Antwerp. The Flemish miniature painter and illustrator was already praised during his own lifetime as the best master of illuminator in all of Europe – and certainly not without good reason. An equally richly illustrated calendar opens the book with the liturgy of the hours for literate laymen.

Breathtaking Landscapes

The theme of the full-page miniatures is concentrated on the landscapes. The reader is shown stormy days with dramatic waves, the farmers’ summer harvest, chopping wood in winter, or the sheering of sheep consistent with the calendar year. Small subplots continuously guide the gaze of the beholder, urging them to constantly discover something new. It is impressive with what attention to detail Bening examines the seasons with their varying weather and which he attempted to portray as accurately as possible.

A Small Book in Many Places

Today, the small book is divided between Europe and the USA. The largest section of the manuscript is found in the Bibliotheca de la Abadía Montserrat in Barcelona. The remaining parts as well as the calendar and a few miniatures are stored in the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek in München. The two miniatures of the Mass of Saint Gregory and the Martyrdom of St. Sebastian are found today in the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles.

Codicology

Alternative Titles
Pequeñas Horas de Montserrat
Horas de Múnich - Montserrat
Müchner-Montserrat Stundenbuch
Size / Format
468 pages / 14.0 × 10.0 cm
Origin
Belgium
Date
1535
Language
Script
Gothic Textualis
Illustrations
19 full-page and 20 small initials, 5 large historiated initials and many smaller initials, and 20 bordures decorated in floral motifs
Content
Book of hours with spectecular calendar pages
Artist / School
Previous Owners
Alonso de Idiaquez

Available facsimile editions:
Detail Picture

Munich-Montserrat Hours

January: Chopping Wood

January was a time of great boredom for medieval peasants as there was not much to do aside from tend the animals and keep warm. As such, we see a man chopping wood while a woman and boy gather up the pieces. Piglets can be seen running around in the yard, indicating that this family of farmers is well-off because pigs fetched a high price at market, but were also expensive to feed through the winter. This dynamic scene is a fine example of Simon Bening’s famous labors of the month.

Horas de Munich - Montserrat (Pequeñas Horas de Montserrat)
Single Page

Munich-Montserrat Hours

Creation of Eve

While Adam is sleeping underneath a tree heavy with fruit, Eve emerges from his side and is blessed by God the Father, who is dressed in luxurious robes and a papal tiara highlighted with precious gold. Adam and Eve are depicted twice more in the distance: eating from the Tree of Knowledge on the left and being subsequently chased from Paradise by an angel on the right.

The Garden of Eden is depicted as being incredibly lush with Adam lying on a soft bed of green leaves and various animals either drinking from the stream or wandering about the trees. In this stream we see the Fountain of Life, carved with figures in the Gothic style. Tree-covered hills and mountains appear blurred in the distance as though the Garden were enshrouded in a protective haze.

Horas de Munich - Montserrat (Pequeñas Horas de Montserrat)
Facsimile Editions

#1 Horas de Munich - Montserrat (Pequeñas Horas de Montserrat)

CM Editores – Salamanca, 2014
Munich-Montserrat Hours – Ms. 53|CLM 23638|Ms. 3 – Biblioteca de la Abadía (Montserrat, Spain) / Bayerische Staatsbibliothek (Munich, Germany) / Getty Museum (Los Angeles, USA)
Munich-Montserrat Hours – Ms. 53|CLM 23638|Ms. 3 – Biblioteca de la Abadía (Montserrat, Spain) / Bayerische Staatsbibliothek (Munich, Germany) / Getty Museum (Los Angeles, USA) Copyright Photos: Ziereis Facsimiles

Publisher: CM Editores – Salamanca, 2014
Binding: Blue 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
1 volume: Exact reproduction of the original document (extent, color and size) In addition to Simon Bening's distincitve and spectacular landscapes, the calendar pages are considered by experts to be among the best produced in the Middle Ages and Renaissance, second only to the Très Riches Heures du Duc de Berry. This facsimile edition is one of three facsimiles known as "Triptico de Montserrat" (Montserrat Triptych). In this edtion the surviving pages from Munich, Montserrat and Los Angeles are included.
Price Category: €€€ (3,000€ - 7,000€)
Edition available
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#2 Triptico de Montserrat (Library Edition)

CM Editores – Salamanca, 2014

Publisher: CM Editores – Salamanca, 2014
Commentary: 1 volume
Language: Spanish
3 volumes: 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.

#3 Triptico de Montserrat (Deluxe Edition)

CM Editores – Salamanca, 2014

Publisher: CM Editores – Salamanca, 2014
Binding: Luxury wooden box
Commentary: 1 volume
Language: Spanish
3 volumes: 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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