Valois Codex - Casanatense Evangeliary

Valois Codex - Casanatense Evangeliary

Probably Tours (France) — Around 1526

A textbook for captivity: beautiful miniatures for the Dauphin of France while in Spanish custody

  1. An exciting chapter in Franco-Spanish history: the hostage-taking of the French Dauphin François (1518–1536)

  2. This precious manuscript was an educational aid for the young prince during his four-year captivity

  3. It has depictions that are suitable for children but are nonetheless of the highest quality

Valois Codex - Casanatense Evangeliary

  1. Description
  2. Facsimile Editions (2)
Description
Valois Codex - Casanatense Evangeliary

An exciting chapter in Franco-Spanish history plays a role in this manuscript: the hostage-taking of the French Dauphin Francois son of Francis I and Claude de France, by Holy Roman Emperor Charles V. During his four-year captivity in Spain, the Casanatense Evangeliary served the eight-year-old prince as a precious piece of educational material. It was a gift from his mother Claude de France and probably originated ca. 1526 in Tours, where the French Queen commissioned many famous manuscripts. Grandiose miniatures and numerous smaller depictions adorn the biblical manuscript in a childish way, simultaneously making it an outstanding masterpiece of French Renaissance painting!

Valois Codex - Casanatense Evangeliary

An exciting chapter in Franco-Spanish history plays a role in this manuscript: the hostage-taking of the French Dauphin Francois son of Francis I and Claude de France, by Holy Roman Emperor Charles V. During his four-year captivity in Spain, this evangeliary served the eight-year-old prince as a precious piece of educational material. It was a gift from his mother Claude de France and probably originated ca. 1526 in Tours, where the French Queen commissioned many famous manuscripts. Grandiose miniatures and numerous smaller depictions adorn the biblical manuscript in a childish way, simultaneously making it an outstanding masterpiece of French Renaissance painting!

The Dauphin as a Hostage of the Kaiser

In the year 1525, the French King Francis I lost the battle of Pavia and became the prisoner of Emperor Charles V in Spain. Two of his sons were exchanged as collateral in March of the following year in order to ransom the King: the eight-year-old Francois and Henry, who was not yet one year old. They spent four years in Spanish captivity until 1530. As the eldest son of Francis I and Claude de France, Francois (1518–1536) was the Dauphin, the heir to the French throne.

A Princely Manuscript

In order to allow their son to benefit from a comprehensive education and to transmit his beliefs to him, Claude de France (1499–1524), daughter of Louis XII and Anne de Bretagne, Queen of France, commissioned a precious manuscript. The evangeliary probably originates from Tours ca. 1526. It was possibly made in the studio of the Master of Claude de France, the high-ranking miniaturist who completed numerous manuscripts for the Queen. As a Bible of the French prince – who nonetheless would never become King of France – the so-called Valois Codex is famous. His escutcheon appears continuously in addition to the allegorical picture of a dolphin in an allusion to the Dauphin in the manuscript’s décor.

Colorful Biblical Illustrations in Exceptional Quality

Numerous full-page miniatures adorn the 312 pages of the gorgeous manuscript. The biblical stories were told in depictions that are both suitable for children and are simultaneously paintings of the highest quality. Alongside the outstanding quality of the paintings, the pictorial inventions and considered compositions of the miniature pages are especially impressive, e.g. the grandiose arrangements of the frames around the miniatures. These imitate Renaissance architecture in an exceptional manner. Alongside the full-page miniatures, one additionally finds 96 small, precious pictures in the text.

Codicology

Alternative Titles
Codice Valois - Il Vangelo del Principe di Francia
Codex Valois - The Gospel of the Prince of France
Valois-Codex - Casanatense-Evangeliar
Size / Format
312 pages / 22.4 × 15.7 cm
Origin
France
Date
Around 1526
Language

Available facsimile editions:
Valois Codex - Casanatense Evangeliary – Ms. 2020 – Biblioteca Casanatense (Rome, Italy)
Vallecchi – Florence, 2008
Limited Edition: 499 copies

Codice Valois. Il Vangelo del Principe di Francia (International Edition)
Vallecchi – Florence, 2008
Limited Edition: 100 copies
Facsimile Editions

#1 Codice Valois. Il Vangelo del Principe di Francia (Italian Edition)

Vallecchi – Florence, 2008

Publisher: Vallecchi – Florence, 2008
Limited Edition: 499 copies
Commentary: 1 volume by Giovanna Lazzi and Isabella Ceccopieri
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. Limited edition of 499 copies numbered from 1 to 499 for the Italian market.
Price Category: €€€€ (7,000€ - 10,000€)
Edition available
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#2 Codice Valois. Il Vangelo del Principe di Francia (International Edition)

Vallecchi – Florence, 2008

Publisher: Vallecchi – Florence, 2008
Limited Edition: 100 copies
Commentary: 1 volume by Giovanna Lazzi and Isabella Ceccopieri
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. Limited edition of 100 copies numbered from I to C for the international market.
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