Officium Beatae Mariae Virginis Ross. 198

Officium Beatae Mariae Virginis Ross. 198 Facsimile Edition

France — ca. 1480

The Illuminator has given the same attention to each leaf, tendril, and strawberry of the frames as to the 21 ravishing miniatures: Jean Colombe's masterful interpretation of the very aesthetic text for personal devotion

  1. The opening miniature in an architectural frame depicts the Triumph of Fame from Petrarch’s Trionfi

  2. The other 20 miniatures of biblical scenes have colorful, highly detailed filigree tendril frames highlighted with gold

  3. It shelf mark is a reference to its erstwhile owner, Giovan Francesco de Rossi (1796–1854)

Officium Beatae Mariae Virginis Ross. 198

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  1. Description
  2. Detail Picture
  3. Single Page
  4. Facsimile Editions (1)
Description
Officium Beatae Mariae Virginis Ross. 198

This fine specimen from the golden age of French illumination is a book of hours dedicated to the Virgin Mary containing the text of the Officium Beate Marie Virginis. It is adorned by 21 magnificent miniatures with colorful, highly detailed filigree tendril frames highlighted with gold except for one: a full-page miniature with an architectural frame depicting the Triumph of Fame from Petrarch’s Trionfi that appears at the beginning of the calendar section. The French master illuminator Jean Colombe is credited with creating this gorgeous image program ca. 1480. “Ross. 198” refers to its erstwhile owner, Giovan Francesco de Rossi, whose collection was donated to the Society of Jesus in 1855 before being transferred to the Jesuit College in Vienna in 1877 and was finally donated to the Vatican Library in 1922.

Officium Beatae Mariae Virginis Ross. 198

One of the most common cycles of Psalms, hymns, prayers, and picture readings found in books of hours is the Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary, also known as the Hours of the Virgin. It originated as a monastic devotion during the mid-8th century and came into general use among the laity during the 10th century. Marian veneration grew tremendously during the 12th and 13th centuries before reaching the height of its popularity during the 14th and 15th centuries, after which time the Reformation signaled a decline as many Protestants objected to her deification. Aside from the great popularity of the Virgin Mary as a compassionate intercessor and protector of humanity, books of hours specifically dedicated to her were a typically owned by aristocratic women, who often received them as wedding presents and a source of comfort while facing the trials and mortal danger of pregnancy and childbirth.

A Mysterious Masterpiece

One of the finest specimens of this sub-genre of medieval manuscripts was created ca. 1480 and furnished with 28 magnificent full-page miniatures by the French illuminator Jean Colombe (ca. 1430 – ca. 1493). Colombe is best known for illuminating a true masterpiece of the Passages d'outremer for Louis de Laval (1411–89) and finishing the famous Très Riches Heures for Jean de Berry (1340–1416) after it was left unfinished by the Limbourg Brothers, who are believed to have all died of plague. This Gothic treasure already exhibit features of the French Renaissance and are presented in splendid decorative frames with flowering tendrils and fruits. However, it is not known who commissioned the manuscript and the first few centuries of its ownership history are similarly mysterious. What is known is that this small masterpiece was in the possession of the Italian diplomat and bibliophile Count Giovan Francesco de Rossi (1796–1854) before finally making its way to its permanent repository in the famous Bibliotheca Apostolica Vaticana.

Codicology

Alternative Titles
Offizium der Jungfrau Maria Ross. 198
Officium Beate Marie Virginis Ross. 198
Origin
France
Date
ca. 1480
Style
Language
Script
Gothic
Illustrations
21 full-page miniatures; decorated initials
Content
Book of Hours with a calendar and prayers for private devotion
Previous Owners
Giovan Francesco de Rossi (1796–1854)

Available facsimile editions:
Detail Picture

Officium Beatae Mariae Virginis Ross. 198

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.

Officium Beatae Mariae Virginis Ross. 198
Single Page

Officium Beatae Mariae Virginis Ross. 198

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.

Officium Beatae Mariae Virginis Ross. 198
Facsimile Editions

#1 Officium Beatae Mariae Virginis Ross. 198

Imago – Castel Guelfo
Officium Beate Marie Virginis Ross. 198  – Ross. 198 – Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana (Vatican City, State of the Vatican City) Facsimile Edition
Officium Beate Marie Virginis Ross. 198 – Ross. 198 – Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana (Vatican City, State of the Vatican City) Facsimile Edition Copyright Photos: Ziereis Facsimiles

Publisher: Imago – Castel Guelfo
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€)
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