Created by the father of Simon Bening for the Queen of Spain: one of the most beautiful songbooks of the 16th century

Song Book of Joan the Mad

Bruges (Belgium) — 1511

Song Book of Joan the Mad

Song Book of Joan the Mad

Bruges (Belgium) — 1511

  1. The commission of Queen Joanna "the Mad" (1479-1555) represents one of the finest 16th century songbooks

  2. Alexander Bening (d. 1519), the master miniaturist from Bruges and father of Simon Bening, completed the manuscript in 1511

  3. Composers include Josquin des Prés, Johannes Ockeghem, Alexander Agricola, and Pierre de la Rue

Song Book of Joan the Mad

Alternative Titles:
  • Cancionero de Juana la Loca
  • Liederbuch Johannas der Wahnsinnigen
  • Chansonnier de Jeanne la Folle
  • Canzoniere di Giovanna la Pazza
  • Cancioneiro de Joana a Louca
Song Book of Joan the Mad – Ms. IV 90 – Bibliothèque Royale de Belgique (Bruxelles, Belgium)
Song Book of Joan the Mad – Ms. IV 90 – Bibliothèque Royale de Belgique (Bruxelles, Belgium)
Song Book of Joan the Mad – Ms. IV 90 – Bibliothèque Royale de Belgique (Bruxelles, Belgium)
Song Book of Joan the Mad – Ms. IV 90 – Bibliothèque Royale de Belgique (Bruxelles, Belgium)
Song Book of Joan the Mad – Ms. IV 90 – Bibliothèque Royale de Belgique (Bruxelles, Belgium)
Song Book of Joan the Mad – Ms. IV 90 – Bibliothèque Royale de Belgique (Bruxelles, Belgium)
Song Book of Joan the Mad – Ms. IV 90 – Bibliothèque Royale de Belgique (Bruxelles, Belgium)
Song Book of Joan the Mad – Ms. IV 90 – Bibliothèque Royale de Belgique (Bruxelles, Belgium)
Song Book of Joan the Mad – Ms. IV 90 – Bibliothèque Royale de Belgique (Bruxelles, Belgium)
Song Book of Joan the Mad – Ms. IV 90 – Bibliothèque Royale de Belgique (Bruxelles, Belgium)
Song Book of Joan the Mad – Ms. IV 90 – Bibliothèque Royale de Belgique (Bruxelles, Belgium)
Song Book of Joan the Mad – Ms. IV 90 – Bibliothèque Royale de Belgique (Bruxelles, Belgium)
Song Book of Joan the Mad – Ms. IV 90 – Bibliothèque Royale de Belgique (Bruxelles, Belgium)
Song Book of Joan the Mad – Ms. IV 90 – Bibliothèque Royale de Belgique (Bruxelles, Belgium)
Song Book of Joan the Mad – Ms. IV 90 – Bibliothèque Royale de Belgique (Bruxelles, Belgium)
Song Book of Joan the Mad – Ms. IV 90 – Bibliothèque Royale de Belgique (Bruxelles, Belgium)
Song Book of Joan the Mad – Ms. IV 90 – Bibliothèque Royale de Belgique (Bruxelles, Belgium)
Song Book of Joan the Mad – Ms. IV 90 – Bibliothèque Royale de Belgique (Bruxelles, Belgium)
Song Book of Joan the Mad – Ms. IV 90 – Bibliothèque Royale de Belgique (Bruxelles, Belgium)
Song Book of Joan the Mad – Ms. IV 90 – Bibliothèque Royale de Belgique (Bruxelles, Belgium)
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  1. Short Description
  2. Codicology

Short Description

The Song Book of Joanna I of Castile, whose epithet was ‘the Mad’, belongs to the most beautiful song manuscripts of the 16th century. It contains 60 pages of songs from various composers with Latin, French, or Dutch text, which deal with many different themes, like love and yearning, betrayal and sadness, but also religious subjects. One finds wonderful miniatures from the Bruges artist Alexander Bening, who lovingly illustrates each song on every page alongside the columns of notation. This valuable treasure of manuscript art is housed within its original binding from the Bruges bookbinder Louis Bloc.

Song Book of Joan the Mad

The Song Book of Joanna I of Castile, whose epithet was ‘the Mad’, belongs to the most beautiful song manuscripts of the 16th century. It contains 60 pages of songs from various composers with Latin, French, or Dutch text, which deal with many different themes, like love and yearning, betrayal and sadness, but also religious subjects. One finds wonderful miniatures from the Bruges artist Alexander Bening, who lovingly illustrates each song on every page alongside the columns of notation. This valuable treasure of manuscript art is housed within its original binding from the Bruges bookbinder Louis Bloc.

Moving Music of the Early 16th Century

Eyes full of tears and cooing romantic pairs populate the pages of the manuscript, but also sophisticated depictions of scenes of the passion of Christ. Luscious strawberries and blooming branches are also to be found. All of these various subjects serve as illustration to the songs of this valuable book belonging to Joanna the Mad. In the 60 pages of the small, landscape formatted manuscript are collections of songs from a multitude of composers; among them being, Josquin des Prés, Johannes Ockeghem, Alexander Agricola and Pierre de la Rue. They give an impressive view into the diverse music of the 16th century and are composed in three different languages: Latin, French, and Dutch. In terms of content, the songs deal with various themes like love, jealousy, need of money, but also biblical stories and the Passion of Christ.

An Important Patron

The patron of the manuscript was Joanna I of Castile (1479-1555), who carried the epithet of ‘the Mad’. The Castilian Queen lived a fateful life, which even today is deeply impressive. She gave the contract of this small book to a Flemish book painter. This miniaturist from Bruges was no less than Alexander Bening, the father of the great Simon Bening, who had crafted the Joanna’s Rosary Manuscript. In the year 1511, the treasure was brought to completion. It contains 56 miniatures that are right or left of the songs. They consist from artful and realistic leave-work with fruits, flowers, insects, and figurative scenes with respect to the content of the songs. Alongside, wonderful and ascetically pleasing initials adorn the pages.

An Outright Treasure

Even the original received binding of the manuscript is impressive. It was finished by the Bruges-based book binder, Louis Bloc, and it shows in leather stamps a frame with surrounding inscriptions, ornamental leaflets, and medallions with animal figures. As a complete work, it offers both music and painting. The impressive Song Book of Joanna the Mad is an insightful look into the music of the early 16th century and a treasure piece for any enthusiastic of illuminated manuscripts.

Codicology

Alternative Titles
Cancionero de Juana la Loca
Liederbuch Johannas der Wahnsinnigen
Chansonnier de Jeanne la Folle
Canzoniere di Giovanna la Pazza
Cancioneiro de Joana a Louca
Size / Format
60 pages / 11.0 x 9.0 cm
Date
1511
Genre
Illustrations
56 miniatures illuminated in gold
Artist / School

1 available facsimile edition(s) of „Song Book of Joan the Mad“

Cancionero de Juana la Loca
Song Book of Joan the Mad – Ms. IV 90 – Bibliothèque Royale de Belgique (Bruxelles, Belgium)
Song Book of Joan the Mad – Ms. IV 90 – Bibliothèque Royale de Belgique (Bruxelles, Belgium)
Song Book of Joan the Mad – Ms. IV 90 – Bibliothèque Royale de Belgique (Bruxelles, Belgium)
Song Book of Joan the Mad – Ms. IV 90 – Bibliothèque Royale de Belgique (Bruxelles, Belgium)
Song Book of Joan the Mad – Ms. IV 90 – Bibliothèque Royale de Belgique (Bruxelles, Belgium)
Song Book of Joan the Mad – Ms. IV 90 – Bibliothèque Royale de Belgique (Bruxelles, Belgium)
Song Book of Joan the Mad – Ms. IV 90 – Bibliothèque Royale de Belgique (Bruxelles, Belgium)
Song Book of Joan the Mad – Ms. IV 90 – Bibliothèque Royale de Belgique (Bruxelles, Belgium)
Song Book of Joan the Mad – Ms. IV 90 – Bibliothèque Royale de Belgique (Bruxelles, Belgium)
Song Book of Joan the Mad – Ms. IV 90 – Bibliothèque Royale de Belgique (Bruxelles, Belgium)
Song Book of Joan the Mad – Ms. IV 90 – Bibliothèque Royale de Belgique (Bruxelles, Belgium)
Song Book of Joan the Mad – Ms. IV 90 – Bibliothèque Royale de Belgique (Bruxelles, Belgium)
Song Book of Joan the Mad – Ms. IV 90 – Bibliothèque Royale de Belgique (Bruxelles, Belgium)
Song Book of Joan the Mad – Ms. IV 90 – Bibliothèque Royale de Belgique (Bruxelles, Belgium)
Song Book of Joan the Mad – Ms. IV 90 – Bibliothèque Royale de Belgique (Bruxelles, Belgium)
Song Book of Joan the Mad – Ms. IV 90 – Bibliothèque Royale de Belgique (Bruxelles, Belgium)
Song Book of Joan the Mad – Ms. IV 90 – Bibliothèque Royale de Belgique (Bruxelles, Belgium)
Song Book of Joan the Mad – Ms. IV 90 – Bibliothèque Royale de Belgique (Bruxelles, Belgium)
Song Book of Joan the Mad – Ms. IV 90 – Bibliothèque Royale de Belgique (Bruxelles, Belgium)
Song Book of Joan the Mad – Ms. IV 90 – Bibliothèque Royale de Belgique (Bruxelles, Belgium)
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Cancionero de Juana la Loca

1 volume: Exact reproduction of the original document (extent, color and size)
Publisher
Patrimonio Ediciones – Valencia, 2006
Limited Edition
999
Binding
It preserves the original binding realized in Bruges by Antoine de Gavere, who executed numerous works for Philip the Good, Duke of Burgundy. It is distinguished by fire engravings of animal and bird motifs intertwined with small vegetable scrolls on both covers, which are lined in leather.
Commentary
1 volume (196 pages) by Honey Meconi
Languages: Spanish, English, German
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