The Festive Year

The Festive Year

Paris (France); Bruges (Belgium) and others — 9th–15th cemtury

How the sun calendar has determined holy days for millennia: the history of feast days in wonderful miniatures

  1. A festive compendium of ten single sheets from some of the finest manuscripts in the world

  2. The number seven, which is important for the calendar, has been associated with holiness for millennia and goes back to the ancient Babylonians

  3. The number is rooted in the seven planets and the cycle of the moon, which divides into four, seven-day periods

The Festive Year

Price Category: € (under 1,000€)
Edition available
Price: Login here!
  1. Description
  2. Detail Picture
  3. Single Page
  4. Facsimile Editions (1)
Description
The Festive Year

Just as there are holy places set aside from their surroundings like temples and churches, there are also days that are elevated above others and given special meaning by us as festival days. Many of our modern holidays have their roots in the fog of prehistory, in a time when people’s lives were directly tied to nature and the wondrous change of the seasons with all of its blessings and threats. Ancient Babylonian cartographers were already familiar with the phases of the moon and also recognized the causes and principles of the turns of the year. This collection of 10 miniatures under passe-partout gathers some of the most beautiful examples of book illumination.

The Festive Year

Decisive points in the solar calendar, which have been recognized in nearly every culture, including the prehistoric, have evolved into holy days. Thus, the winter solstice developed into Christmas, while Passover, from which Easter evolved, began as a spring harvest festival. Christian festivals were often placed on the days previously occupied by pagan holidays so as to make replacing them easier. The seven-day week, anchored by the sanctity of Sundays, is not only rooted in the Book of Genesis – the number seven has been associated with holiness for millennia, going back to the ancient Babylonians. The number is rooted in the seven planets and the fact that the cycle of the moon is easily divided into four, seven-day periods, even if it technically averages a little more than 29 days. It is for these reasons that the church year does not have a fixed beginning and end point with regard to the secular calendar. This compendium of ten single sheets from some of the finest manuscripts in the world, and the accompanying commentary, gives a detailed and artful survey of this fascinating topic.

Sheet 1: The Life of Mary
Bedford Hours, Paris, ca. 1423–1430
British Library, London

Sheet 2:The Annunciation at the Well
Cotton Psalter, Germany, mid–12th century
British Library, London

Sheet 2: Christmas
The Benedictional of St. Æthelwold, Winchester, ca. 980
British Library, London

Sheet 4: The Three Magi
Les très riches heures du Duc de Berry, France, 1411/1416
Musée Condé, Chantilly

Sheet 5: Epiphany (January 6th)
Missal of Archbishop Zbyněk Zajíc of Hazmburk, Prague, 1409
Österreichische Nationalbibliothek, Vienna

Sheet 6: Holy Week (Entry into Jerusalem)
The Benedictional of St. Æthelwold, Winchester, ca. 980
British Library, London

Sheet 7: Easter
Drogo Sacramentary, Metz, ca. 850–855
Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris

Sheet 8: Ascension Day
Hours of Etienne Chevalier, France, mid–15 century
Musée Condé, Chantilly

Sheet 9: Pentecost
Drogo Sacramentary, Metz, ca. 850–855
Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris

Sheet 10: St. Martin
Mother Rule of the School of St. Martin, Venice, 1362
Museo Correr, Venice

Codicology

Alternative Titles
Kassette Das festliche Jahr
Size / Format
10 leaves / 45.0 × 32.0 cm
Origin
France
Date
9th–15th cemtury
Language
Illustrations
10 miniatures
Content
Ten leaves from important manuscripts
Artist / School

Available facsimile editions:
The Festive Year – Several Owners
Coron Verlag – Gütersloh, 1988
Limited Edition: 1495 copies
Detail Picture

Bedford Hours

Life of the Virgin Mary

This wonderful architectural frame stands out among the rich décor of this French masterpiece and shows various scenes from the life of the Virgin Mary as though they were occurring within the rooms of a grand palace. Features like columns, towers, and staircases help to complete this effect and even makes it resemble an Advent calendar. Scenes include the Presentation of Mary, Visitation to St. Elizabeth, and Annunciation along with a typical medieval depiction of Mary weaving at a loom.

Kassette Das festliche Jahr
Single Page

Mother Rule of the School of St. Martin

St. Martin

This 14th century miniature exhibits strong influences from Byzantine art, especially with regard to its magnificent burnished gold background, which is further embellished with fine embossing. Rather than being depicted in contemporary fashions, as was common, St. Martin is shown here in the dress of a Roman cavalryman from Late Antiquity.

According to legend, St. Martin used his sword to cut his cloak in two in order to clothe a beggar freezing in Winter. The beggar is depicted here naked but wearing a hat and holding one end of St. Martin’s fur-lined cloak, which he is about to cut with his sword. St. Martin’s magnificent horse exceeds the boundaries of the frame, the individual hairs of its mane depicted in detail.

Kassette Das festliche Jahr
Facsimile Editions

#1 Kassette Das festliche Jahr

Coron Verlag – Gütersloh, 1988
The Festive Year – Several Owners
The Festive Year – Several Owners Copyright Photos: Ziereis Facsimiles

Publisher: Coron Verlag – Gütersloh, 1988
Limited Edition: 1495 copies
Binding: Box
Commentary: 1 volume
Language: German
1 volume: 10 leaves: 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: € (under 1,000€)
Edition available
Price: Login here!
You might also be interested in:
The Golden Calendar
The Golden Calendar
Paris (France); Bruges (Belgium) and others – 15th–16th cemtury

From the most beautiful calendars of the Middle Ages: a collection of 13 calendar miniatures illuminated with monthly activities and zodiac symbols

Experience More
Blog articles worth reading
Filter selection
Publisher