Prayer Book of Lorenzo de' Medici

Prayer Book of Lorenzo de' Medici – Coron Verlag – Clm 23639 – Bayerische Staatsbibliothek (Munich, Germany)

Florence (Italy) — 1485

Italian Renaissance art in filigree perfection: Lorenzo the Magnificent's wedding gift to his eldest daughter Lucrezia in a gilded silver binding with ornate enamel decoration

  1. This masterpiece was a wedding present from Lorenzo de' Medici (1449–92) to his eldest daughter Lucrezia

  2. A gilded silver binding with finely worked enamel betrays the incredible illumination within

  3. A collaboration between the miniaturist Francesco Roselli (1445–1513) and the scribe Antonio Sinibaldi (1443–1528)

Prayer Book of Lorenzo de' Medici

Formerly 5,980  â‚¬
Special Offer until 01/31/2024 (like new) 2,999  â‚¬
  1. Description
  2. Detail Picture
  3. Single Page
  4. Facsimile Editions (2)
Description
Prayer Book of Lorenzo de' Medici

The splendid Prayer Book of Lorenzo de' Medici (1449–1492) was a wedding present to his eldest daughter Lucrezia (1470–1553), who married the Florentine banker Jacopo Salviati (1461–1533). The gilded silver binding with finely worked enamel reveals directly to the beholder what a precious manuscript this is. Hidden within it are 556 pages with ten magnificent full-page miniatures, twelve elaborate calendar medallions, and seven large historiated initials surrounded by exuberant, golden borders. Partially in gold and brilliant blue ink, the pious prayer texts were written on the parchment by the talented scribe Antonio Sinibaldi (1443 – before 1528), while the splendid imagery is the work of Francesco Rosselli (1455–1513), a miniature painter favored by the Medicis, who thus created a truly sumptuous Renaissance masterpiece.

Prayer Book of Lorenzo de' Medici

Lorenzo de’ Medici (1449–1492) earned the epithet of “the Magnificent” thanks to his generous patronage of the fine arts. Consistent with his love of painting, he gifted a splendid prayer book to his older daughter Lucrezia (1470–1553) on the occasion of her wedding to the Florentine banker Jacopo Salviati (1461–1533). The manuscript originated in 1485 with ten full-page miniatures, twelve smaller calendar medallions and seven historiated initials on a total of 556 pages. The party responsible for the detailed paintings was the Medici family’s most favored miniaturist, Francesco Rosselli (1455–1513), the younger brother of the famous Florentine painter Cosimo Rosselli (1439–1507). Antonio Sinibaldi (1443-before 1528) contributed to the work as a scribe. He worked primarily for wealthy collectors and occasionally in permanent positions, such as for King Ferrante of Naples (1424–1494).

Gleaming Binding

The beholder is made aware of the preciousness of the manuscript even before they lay eyes on its luminous miniatures. A radiant gilded silver binding houses the prayer book. The silver plates of both covers are interlinked by five hinges decorated with vegetal décor. The richly ornamented front cover displays a diamond-shaped enamel work in the center field with the Archangel Gabriel, while Mary can be seen on the back cover. The binding alone demonstrates that this is an exceptionally precious manuscript.

A Recognizable Pattern of Décor

The painter Francesco Rosselli showed particular discipline in designing individual pages with an architectural pattern of décor. While large primary scenes such as the Annunciation or the Crucifixion are encompassed in arched frames, appearing underneath them are smaller pictures in quatrefoil or multi-foil frames. The entire composition was then encompassed by repetitively detailed decorative motifs such as foliage, diamond rings, or winged cherubs. Thus, the impression is given that every page is decorated down to the smallest detail, making it possible to continuously discover something new.

Codicology

Alternative Titles
Gebetbuch des Lorenzo de' Medici
Size / Format
556 pages / 17.0 × 10.8 cm
Origin
Italy
Date
1485
Language
Illustrations
10 full-page miniatures, 12 smaller calendar miniatures, 7 historiated initials
Patron
Wedding present from Lorenzo de' Medici (1449–1492) to his eldest daughter, Lucrezia, and Jacopo Salviati (1488)
Artist / School
Previous Owners
The manuscript was perhaps a gift to the dukes of Wittelsbach in whose inventory it appears for the first time in 1598. In 1785 it passed into the possessions of the Court Library in Munich.

Available facsimile editions:
Prayer Book of Lorenzo de' Medici – Coron Verlag – Clm 23639 – Bayerische Staatsbibliothek (Munich, Germany)
Coron Verlag – Gütersloh, 1991
Limited Edition: 300 copies

Prayer Book of Lorenzo de' Medici – Müller & Schindler – Clm 23639 – Bayerische Staatsbibliothek (Munich, Germany)
Müller & Schindler – Stuttgart, 1991
Limited Edition: 500 copies
Detail Picture

Prayer Book of Lorenzo de' Medici

November: Plowing Fields

The medallion miniature for this calendar page shows a typical labor of the month, but like many agricultural activities, the scene depended upon where the manuscript originated. Most illuminated calendar pages show a scene of plowing or sowing winter rye in October, but because this manuscript is from sunny Italy, this activity is pushed back a month. A farmer is shown driving two oxen with a background of barren trees and distant Alpine peaks inside of a splendid gold leaf frame.

Prayer Book of Lorenzo de' Medici – Coron Verlag – Clm 23639 – Bayerische Staatsbibliothek (Munich, Germany)
Single Page

Prayer Book of Lorenzo de' Medici

Front Cover and Spine

This elaborate book cover consists of five colorful enamel inlays set in gilded silver over a wood binding, which is engraved with roses, acanthus leaves, ribbons, and braided cords. The underlying silver is showing through the gold in some places, indicating that this was indeed a personal devotional manuscript that was frequently used. It was created by an unknown goldsmith ca. 1485.

The central enamel features the archangel Gabriel (the Virgin Mary is on the back), surrounded by four other enamels with flowers in amphorae, tendrils, and a bird. Five hinges, also made of gilded silver, connect the nearly identical front and back covers and consist of symmetrically arranged palmettes flanking a blossom surrounded by petals in the center.

Prayer Book of Lorenzo de' Medici – Coron Verlag – Clm 23639 – Bayerische Staatsbibliothek (Munich, Germany)
Facsimile Editions

#1 Gebetbuch des Lorenzo de' Medici - De Luxe Edition

Coron Verlag – Gütersloh, 1991

Publisher: Coron Verlag – Gütersloh, 1991
Limited Edition: 300 copies
Binding: Finest gold work with two bigger enamelled miniatures on front and back cover, 8 smaller enamelled floral miniatures and two gilt clasps
Commentary: 1 volume (402 pages) by Erwin Arnold, Mark L. Evans, Albinia C. de la Mare and Lorenz Seelig
Languages: German
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.
Formerly 5,980  â‚¬
Special Offer until 01/31/2024 (like new) 2,999  â‚¬

#2 Gebetbuch des Lorenzo de' Medici - Standard Edition

Müller & Schindler – Stuttgart, 1991
Prayer Book of Lorenzo de' Medici – Müller & Schindler – Clm 23639 – Bayerische Staatsbibliothek (Munich, Germany)
Prayer Book of Lorenzo de' Medici – Müller & Schindler – Clm 23639 – Bayerische Staatsbibliothek (Munich, Germany) Copyright Photos: Ziereis Facsimiles

Publisher: Müller & Schindler – Stuttgart, 1991
Limited Edition: 500 copies
Binding: Red velvet with enamelled miniature on front cover
Commentary: 1 volume (402 pages) by Erwin Arnold, Mark L. Evans, Albinia C. de la Mare and Lorenz Seelig
Languages: German
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.
Facsimile Copy Available!
Price Category: €€
(1,000€ - 3,000€)
You might also be interested in:
Bible of Federico da Montefeltro – Franco Cosimo Panini Editore – Mss. Urb. Lat. 1 e Urb. Lat. 2 – Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana (Vatican City, State of the Vatican City)
Bible of Federico da Montefeltro
Florence (Italy) – 1476–1478

A magnificent Bible as the crown jewel of the library of one of the richest princes of the Italian Renaissance: a huge, two-volume masterpiece with grandiose miniature paintings by two of Lorenzo de Medici's court artists

Experience More
Book of Hours of Lorenzo de' Medici – Franco Cosimo Panini Editore – Ms. Ashburnam 1874 – Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana (Florence, Italy)
Book of Hours of Lorenzo de' Medici
Florence (Italy) – Before 1492

3 daughters, 3 wedding gifts: one of three almost identical illuminated manuscripts that Lorenzo the Magnificent commissioned for his three daughters

Experience More
Medici Aesop – Patrimonio Ediciones – Spencer 50 – The New York Public Library  (New York, USA) / Private Collection
Medici Aesop
Florence (Italy) – Ca. 1480

Aesop's ancient fables in the opulent dress of the Italian Renaissance: the unprecedented Greek textbook with 135 gold-decorated miniatures for the eldest son of Lorenzo de' Medici

Experience More
Medici-Rothschild Hours – Franco Cosimo Panini Editore – Ms. 16 – Rothschild Collection at Waddesdon Manor (Aylesbury, United Kingdom)
Medici-Rothschild Hours
Florence (Italy) – 1488

The prestigious wedding gift of Lorenzo de' Medici to his younger daughter Magdalena: a luxurious masterpiece of the Florentine Renaissance from the famous Rothschild collection

Experience More
Treatise on Arithmetic of Lorenzo the Magnificent – Patrimonio Ediciones – Ms. Ricc. 2669 – Biblioteca Riccardiana (Florence, Italy)
Treatise on Arithmetic of Lorenzo the Magnificent
Florence (Italy) – Last quarter of the 15th century

At the behest of Lorenzo de' Medici: a magnificently furnished arithmetic book for his son Giovanni, who became Pope Leo X

Experience More
Riccardiana Virgil - Bucolica, Georgica, Aeneid – ArtCodex – ms. Ricc. 492 – Biblioteca Riccardiana (Florence, Italy)
Riccardiana Virgil - Bucolica, Georgica, Aeneid
Florence (Italy) – Around 1460

Created on commission of the famous Renaissance prince Lorenzo de' Medici: Virgil's opus magnum about the fabulous city of Troy and the legendary founding of Rome in luminous Renaissance images

Experience More
Blog articles worth reading
Filter selection
Publisher