Officium Beatae Mariae Virginis of Maria Antonietta of Savoia

Officium Beatae Mariae Virginis of Maria Antonietta of Savoia

Italy — Second half of the 15th century

Most of the saints in it are Italian: the Flemish school of Willem Vrelant in a magnificent manuscript for the daughter of the Spanish King Philip V

  1. The paintings of this incredible manuscript are reminiscent of the Flemish school of Willem Vrelant (d. ca. 1481/82)

  2. Nonetheless, the manuscript has a uniquely Italian character: most of the saints presented are Italian

  3. This codex bears the name of Maria Antonietta of Spain, a Spanish Infanta and daughter of King Philip V (1683–1746)

Officium Beatae Mariae Virginis of Maria Antonietta of Savoia

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  1. Description
  2. Detail Picture
  3. Single Page
  4. Facsimile Editions (1)
Description
Officium Beatae Mariae Virginis of Maria Antonietta of Savoia

This Italian manuscript from the second half of the 15th century is reminiscent of Flemish illumination in its elegant and artful décor. Nonetheless, the Officium Beatae Mariae Virginis has a uniquely Italian character in that the majority of the saints presented are specifically Italian. The manuscript finally came into the possession of Maria Antionietta of Savoy, the youngest daughter of King Philip V and the wife of the King of Sardinia-Piedmont, Victor Amadeus II of the House of Savoy.

Officium Beatae Mariae Virginis of Maria Antonietta of Savoy

This Italian manuscript from the second half of the 15th century is reminiscent of Flemish illumination in its elegant and artful décor. Nonetheless, the Officium Beatae Mariae Virginis has a uniquely Italian character in that the majority of the saints presented are specifically Italian. The manuscript finally came into the possession of Maria Antionietta of Savoy, the youngest daughter of King Philip V and the wife of the King of Sardinia-Piedmont, Victor Amadeus II of the House of Savoy.

An Italian Annunciation in the Flemish Style

A gorgeous depiction of the Annunciation is illustrated in the Officium: Mary, kneeling on a pillow in prayer, and the arch angel, who is delivering the good news with a banderole, are in an artfully-composed space with asymmetrical checkered floors, ornamented walls, and a green canopy over the lectern, before which Mary kneels. God the Father watches over the scene from the upper left corner of the image. Finally, a vase with two white lilies as a symbol of Mary’s virginity stands in the center of the room.

Filigree Ornamentation and Grandiose Miniatures

This miniature is exemplary of the grandiose visual décor of the Officium Beatae Mariae Virginis of Maria Antonietta of Savoy: 13 full-page miniatures, 13 historiated initials, and 172 decorative initials in red and blue inks also adorn the lavishly decorated manuscript. Alongside this miniature of the Annunciation, the gorgeous, haunting depiction of the Lamentation also makes the artistic influences from Flanders apparent. Although originating from Italy in the second half of the 15th century, the paintings are reminiscent of the Flemish school of Willem Vrelant.

A Spanish Infanta

The precious manuscript bears the name of one of its owners: Maria Antonietta of Spain (Span. Maria Antonia Fernanda, 1729–1785), a Spanish Infanta as the youngest daughter of Philip V. She became the Queen of Sardinia-Piedmont through her marriage to Victor Amadeus III of the House of Savoy and thus also gained possession of the Italian Officium. Victor Amadeus was the son of Carlo Emanuele III, Duke of Saxony and King of Sardinia-Piedmont. He was also the one to acquire the manuscript in 1764 from a cleric at the Church of St. Joire in Savoy.

Codicology

Alternative Titles
Officium Beate Marie Virginis
Offiziolo di Maria Antonietta di Savoia
Offizium der Madonna von Maria Antonietta von Savoyen
Size / Format
238 pages / 19.5 × 15.0 cm
Origin
Italy
Date
Second half of the 15th century
Language
Script
Gothic
Illustrations
13 full-page miniatures, 13 historiated initials, and 172 decorative initials in red and blue ink
Artist / School
Previous Owners
Charles Emmanuel III (1701–1773), Duke of Savoy
Maria Antonia Ferdinanda of Spain (1729–1785), Ducchess of Savoy

Available facsimile editions:
Officium Beatae Mariae Virginis of Maria Antonietta of Savoia – JB. II. 34 – Archivio di Stato di Torino - Museo dell'Archivio di Corte (Turin, Italy)
Imago – Castel Guelfo, 2005
Limited Edition: 299 copies
Detail Picture

Officium Beatae Mariae Virginis of Maria Antonietta of Savoia

Baptism of Jesus

Jesus stands in the River Jordan as John the Baptist, kneeling on the right bank in rough clothing, pours water over his head. An angel stands on the left bank and holds Jesus’s robes while also acting as a witness to this important event. The Holy Trinity is represented by God the Father, who looks down from the sky, the white dove of the Holy Spirit, who descends in a shower of golden rays, and Jesus, who stands as the bottom with a ray nimbus. A cool blue-green landscape serves as a backdrop.

Offiziolo di Maria Antonietta di Savoia
Single Page

Officium Beatae Mariae Virginis of Maria Antonietta of Savoia

Pentecost

According to the Book of Acts, the Holy Spirit descended upon the Apostles and other followers of Jesus Christ while they were in Jerusalem celebrating the Feast of Weeks. The word Pentecost come from the Greek for “fiftieth” because the holiday is celebrated fifty days after Easter and as such is a “moveable feast”.

Gold has been used generously on the page to highlight the clothing of the figures, their halos, and even the frame. Both the architecture and the arrangement of the Apostles create a perspective that is focused on the Virgin Mary, above whom the white dove of the Holy Spirit appears. This scene is set within a wonderfully colorful floral frame and the large “D” initial features a checkerboard pattern with blue and red flowers.

Offiziolo di Maria Antonietta di Savoia
Facsimile Editions

#1 Offiziolo di Maria Antonietta di Savoia

Imago – Castel Guelfo, 2005
Officium Beatae Mariae Virginis of Maria Antonietta of Savoia – JB. II. 34 – Archivio di Stato di Torino - Museo dell'Archivio di Corte (Turin, Italy)
Officium Beatae Mariae Virginis of Maria Antonietta of Savoia – JB. II. 34 – Archivio di Stato di Torino - Museo dell'Archivio di Corte (Turin, Italy) Copyright Photos: Ziereis Facsimiles

Publisher: Imago – Castel Guelfo, 2005
Limited Edition: 299 copies
Binding: Handbound and hand-sewn with naturally tanned grained leather and embossed gold
Commentary: 1 volume
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: €€€ (3,000€ - 7,000€)
Edition available
Price: Login here!
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