For the Archduchess of Austria: a masterpiece from the circle of Jean Bourdichon as a companion for her wedding to the Duke of Ferrara

Officium Beatae Mariae Virginis of Barbara of Austria

France — 15th century

Officium Beatae Mariae Virginis of Barbara of Austria

Officium Beatae Mariae Virginis of Barbara of Austria

France — 15th century

  1. The personal prayer book of Barbara of Austria (1539–72), wife of Alfonso II d'Este (1533–97), Duke of Ferrara

  2. The manuscript from the circle of Jean Bourdichon (1457/59–1521) is truly worthy of such a prestigious owner

  3. The motto A.E.I.O.U adorns nearly every page of the manuscript, connecting it to the Austrian royal family

Offiziolo di Barbara d'Austria

Officium Beatae Mariae Virginis of Barbara of Austria

Floral Frame with Cherub

Below a typical Crucifixion scene, we find a red-orange cherub holding a whip and cradling a column – two of the Arma Christi or Instruments of the Passion that refer specifically to the Flagellation. It is sitting among blue and gold acanthus leaves as well as purple flowers with a mournful expression on its face as it pays witness to the scene above. The miniature pages of this manuscript all feature similarly artful frames that also include various animals and drolleries.

Officium Beatae Mariae Virginis of Barbara of Austria

Alternative Titles:
  • Offiziolo di Barbara d'Austria
  • Stundenbuch von Barbara von Österreich
  • Hours of Barbara of Austria
Officium Beatae Mariae Virginis of Barbara of Austria – Lat. 22 = alfa K. 7. 2   – Biblioteca Estense Universitaria (Modena, Italy)
Officium Beatae Mariae Virginis of Barbara of Austria – Lat. 22 = alfa K. 7. 2   – Biblioteca Estense Universitaria (Modena, Italy)
Officium Beatae Mariae Virginis of Barbara of Austria – Lat. 22 = alfa K. 7. 2   – Biblioteca Estense Universitaria (Modena, Italy)
Officium Beatae Mariae Virginis of Barbara of Austria – Lat. 22 = alfa K. 7. 2   – Biblioteca Estense Universitaria (Modena, Italy)
Officium Beatae Mariae Virginis of Barbara of Austria – Lat. 22 = alfa K. 7. 2   – Biblioteca Estense Universitaria (Modena, Italy)
Officium Beatae Mariae Virginis of Barbara of Austria – Lat. 22 = alfa K. 7. 2   – Biblioteca Estense Universitaria (Modena, Italy)
Officium Beatae Mariae Virginis of Barbara of Austria – Lat. 22 = alfa K. 7. 2   – Biblioteca Estense Universitaria (Modena, Italy)
Officium Beatae Mariae Virginis of Barbara of Austria – Lat. 22 = alfa K. 7. 2   – Biblioteca Estense Universitaria (Modena, Italy)
Officium Beatae Mariae Virginis of Barbara of Austria – Lat. 22 = alfa K. 7. 2   – Biblioteca Estense Universitaria (Modena, Italy)
Officium Beatae Mariae Virginis of Barbara of Austria – Lat. 22 = alfa K. 7. 2   – Biblioteca Estense Universitaria (Modena, Italy)
Officium Beatae Mariae Virginis of Barbara of Austria – Lat. 22 = alfa K. 7. 2   – Biblioteca Estense Universitaria (Modena, Italy)
Officium Beatae Mariae Virginis of Barbara of Austria – Lat. 22 = alfa K. 7. 2   – Biblioteca Estense Universitaria (Modena, Italy)
Officium Beatae Mariae Virginis of Barbara of Austria – Lat. 22 = alfa K. 7. 2   – Biblioteca Estense Universitaria (Modena, Italy)
Officium Beatae Mariae Virginis of Barbara of Austria – Lat. 22 = alfa K. 7. 2   – Biblioteca Estense Universitaria (Modena, Italy)
Officium Beatae Mariae Virginis of Barbara of Austria – Lat. 22 = alfa K. 7. 2   – Biblioteca Estense Universitaria (Modena, Italy)
Officium Beatae Mariae Virginis of Barbara of Austria – Lat. 22 = alfa K. 7. 2   – Biblioteca Estense Universitaria (Modena, Italy)
Officium Beatae Mariae Virginis of Barbara of Austria – Lat. 22 = alfa K. 7. 2   – Biblioteca Estense Universitaria (Modena, Italy)
Officium Beatae Mariae Virginis of Barbara of Austria – Lat. 22 = alfa K. 7. 2   – Biblioteca Estense Universitaria (Modena, Italy)
Officium Beatae Mariae Virginis of Barbara of Austria – Lat. 22 = alfa K. 7. 2   – Biblioteca Estense Universitaria (Modena, Italy)
Officium Beatae Mariae Virginis of Barbara of Austria – Lat. 22 = alfa K. 7. 2   – Biblioteca Estense Universitaria (Modena, Italy)
Officium Beatae Mariae Virginis of Barbara of Austria – Lat. 22 = alfa K. 7. 2   – Biblioteca Estense Universitaria (Modena, Italy)
Officium Beatae Mariae Virginis of Barbara of Austria – Lat. 22 = alfa K. 7. 2   – Biblioteca Estense Universitaria (Modena, Italy)
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  1. Short Description
  2. Codicology

Short Description

The precious manuscript of this Office of the Virgin Mary was in the possession of Barbara of Austria, an Austrian archduchess and wife of Alfonso II d’Este, Duke of Ferrara. As a private devotional book, the manuscript was probably with her during her wedding. The manuscript was made in France in the late 15th century in the French late-Gothic style of illumination – probably from the circle of the famous court painter Jean Bourdichon – and yet presents itself as being utterly and completely associate with the Austrian royal family: the motto A.E.I.O.U adorns nearly every page of the manuscript.

Officium Beatae Mariae Virginis of Barbara of Austria

The precious manuscript of this Office of the Virgin Mary was in the possession of Barbara of Austria, an Austrian archduchess and wife of Alfonso II d’Este, Duke of Ferrara. As a private devotional book, the manuscript was probably with her during her wedding. The manuscript was made in France in the late 15th century in the French late-Gothic style of illumination – probably from the circle of the famous court painter Jean Bourdichon – and yet presents itself as being utterly and completely associate with the Austrian royal family: the motto A.E.I.O.U adorns nearly every page of the manuscript.

The Ducal Owner

The precious Officium Beatae Mariae Virginis of Barbara of Austria, which can be found today in the collection of the Biblioteca Estense Universitaria in Modena, was the private devotional book of Barbara of Austria. Barbara of Austria (1539–1572) was one of 11 children resulting from the union of Ferdinand I, who eventually became Holy Roman Emperor, and Anna Jagiello and as such was an Austrian archduchess. She married Alfonso II d’Este, the Duke of Ferrara in the year 1565. However, Barbara died already at the age of 33. The famous poet Torquato Tasso, whom she encountered in Italy, dedicated some of his poems to the Duchess of Ferrara.

In the Circle of the Famous Court Painter

The French Officium Beatae Mariae Virginis of Barbara of Austria probably accompanied Barbara on the day of her wedding to Alfonso d’Este. Already having been made in France in the 15th century, this manuscript presents itself as a splendid work of French Gothic art. It is stylistically reminiscent of the painting of Jean Bourdichon (1457–1521), who was active was a court painter for three French kings and is famous for his Prayer Book of Anne de Bretagne, inter alia. The Officium Beatae Mariae Virginis of Barbara of Austria probably originated from Bourdichon’s circle.

French Visual Adornment and an Austrian Motto

The 332 pages of the manuscript were adorned with 17 full-page miniatures and countless initials and other elements. Broad decorative frames, filled with magnificent ornamentation and decorative motifs, surround the primary miniatures with scenes from the life of the Virgin Mary. The ornamentation is permeated with representations of animals and plants both real and fantastic, or cherubs and musical angels, and a variety of additional decorative elements. One finds the motto of the Austrian royal family: “A.E.I.O.U. – Austria est imperare orbi universo – on practically every page of the manuscript, an unmistakable sign of its connection with Barbara of Austria!

Codicology

Alternative Titles
Offiziolo di Barbara d'Austria
Stundenbuch von Barbara von Österreich
Hours of Barbara of Austria
Size / Format
332 pages / 17.5 x 12.0 cm
Origin
France
Date
15th century
Style
Gothic
Language
Illustrations
17 full-page miniatures and 328 illustrations of animals and plants
Artist / School
Previous Owners
Offiziolo di Barbara d'Austria

Officium Beatae Mariae Virginis of Barbara of Austria

King David the Musician

The Biblical figure of David first appears as a shepherd who is brought to King Saul because of his skill as a musician. Although the instrument David played more closely resembled a lyre, he is typically shown playing a harp in medieval art, as he is here. Depicted as an elderly man, King David is gazing off in thought, possibly while composing a Psalm.

David’s garments are masterfully accented with strokes of gold ink and he is seated under a delicate pink arcade in a walled garden. Part of the splendid architecture has been removed by the artist to reveal the evening sky. Flanked by two cherubs, the shield at the bottom of the page has had its coat of arms erased, and is part of a frame that makes the scene appear as though in a window.

1 available facsimile edition(s) of „Officium Beatae Mariae Virginis of Barbara of Austria“

Offiziolo di Barbara d'Austria
Officium Beatae Mariae Virginis of Barbara of Austria – Lat. 22 = alfa K. 7. 2   – Biblioteca Estense Universitaria (Modena, Italy)
Officium Beatae Mariae Virginis of Barbara of Austria – Lat. 22 = alfa K. 7. 2   – Biblioteca Estense Universitaria (Modena, Italy)
Officium Beatae Mariae Virginis of Barbara of Austria – Lat. 22 = alfa K. 7. 2   – Biblioteca Estense Universitaria (Modena, Italy)
Officium Beatae Mariae Virginis of Barbara of Austria – Lat. 22 = alfa K. 7. 2   – Biblioteca Estense Universitaria (Modena, Italy)
Officium Beatae Mariae Virginis of Barbara of Austria – Lat. 22 = alfa K. 7. 2   – Biblioteca Estense Universitaria (Modena, Italy)
Officium Beatae Mariae Virginis of Barbara of Austria – Lat. 22 = alfa K. 7. 2   – Biblioteca Estense Universitaria (Modena, Italy)
Officium Beatae Mariae Virginis of Barbara of Austria – Lat. 22 = alfa K. 7. 2   – Biblioteca Estense Universitaria (Modena, Italy)
Officium Beatae Mariae Virginis of Barbara of Austria – Lat. 22 = alfa K. 7. 2   – Biblioteca Estense Universitaria (Modena, Italy)
Officium Beatae Mariae Virginis of Barbara of Austria – Lat. 22 = alfa K. 7. 2   – Biblioteca Estense Universitaria (Modena, Italy)
Officium Beatae Mariae Virginis of Barbara of Austria – Lat. 22 = alfa K. 7. 2   – Biblioteca Estense Universitaria (Modena, Italy)
Officium Beatae Mariae Virginis of Barbara of Austria – Lat. 22 = alfa K. 7. 2   – Biblioteca Estense Universitaria (Modena, Italy)
Officium Beatae Mariae Virginis of Barbara of Austria – Lat. 22 = alfa K. 7. 2   – Biblioteca Estense Universitaria (Modena, Italy)
Officium Beatae Mariae Virginis of Barbara of Austria – Lat. 22 = alfa K. 7. 2   – Biblioteca Estense Universitaria (Modena, Italy)
Officium Beatae Mariae Virginis of Barbara of Austria – Lat. 22 = alfa K. 7. 2   – Biblioteca Estense Universitaria (Modena, Italy)
Officium Beatae Mariae Virginis of Barbara of Austria – Lat. 22 = alfa K. 7. 2   – Biblioteca Estense Universitaria (Modena, Italy)
Officium Beatae Mariae Virginis of Barbara of Austria – Lat. 22 = alfa K. 7. 2   – Biblioteca Estense Universitaria (Modena, Italy)
Officium Beatae Mariae Virginis of Barbara of Austria – Lat. 22 = alfa K. 7. 2   – Biblioteca Estense Universitaria (Modena, Italy)
Officium Beatae Mariae Virginis of Barbara of Austria – Lat. 22 = alfa K. 7. 2   – Biblioteca Estense Universitaria (Modena, Italy)
Officium Beatae Mariae Virginis of Barbara of Austria – Lat. 22 = alfa K. 7. 2   – Biblioteca Estense Universitaria (Modena, Italy)
Officium Beatae Mariae Virginis of Barbara of Austria – Lat. 22 = alfa K. 7. 2   – Biblioteca Estense Universitaria (Modena, Italy)
Officium Beatae Mariae Virginis of Barbara of Austria – Lat. 22 = alfa K. 7. 2   – Biblioteca Estense Universitaria (Modena, Italy)
Officium Beatae Mariae Virginis of Barbara of Austria – Lat. 22 = alfa K. 7. 2   – Biblioteca Estense Universitaria (Modena, Italy)
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Offiziolo di Barbara d'Austria

1 volume: Exact reproduction of the original document (extent, color and size)
Publisher
Imago – Castel Guelfo, 2013
Limited Edition
300 copies
Binding
Green velvet with clasps
Commentary
1 volume
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.
Price Category: €€€€ (7,000€ - 10,000€)
Edition available
Price: Login here!
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