Great art in a tiny jewel: the mastery of Simon Bening and Antonius van Damme in realistic miniatures just a few centimeters in size

Van Damme Hours

Bruges (Flanders) — 1531

Van Damme Hours

Van Damme Hours

Bruges (Flanders) — 1531

  1. A fantastic collaboration between Antonius van Damme (active 1495–1545) and Simon Bening (1483–1561)

  2. 32 realistic full-page miniatures and 32 first-class initial pages adorn this gem of Flemish Renaissance illumination

  3. Bening’s twelve calendar pages with their charming vignettes are especially appealing

Das Van-Damme Stundenbuch (Deluxe Edition)

Van Damme Hours

December: Slaughtering Swine

In the frame beneath the calendar, we see a pig being slaughtered, a typical scene for the month when salted meat was usually being stockpiled for the winter. Its blood, a rich source of iron, is being carefully collected by a woman with a long-handled pan. Freshly fallen snow covers the scene, which appears to be a town square, most likely in the district of the city occupied by the butchers’ guild. A couple dressed in red and blue huddles together against the cold, probably the buyers.

Van Damme Hours

Alternative Titles:
  • Das Van Damme Stundenbuch
Van Damme Hours – MS M.451 – Morgan Library & Museum (New York, USA)
Van Damme Hours – MS M.451 – Morgan Library & Museum (New York, USA)
Van Damme Hours – MS M.451 – Morgan Library & Museum (New York, USA)
Van Damme Hours – MS M.451 – Morgan Library & Museum (New York, USA)
Van Damme Hours – MS M.451 – Morgan Library & Museum (New York, USA)
Van Damme Hours – MS M.451 – Morgan Library & Museum (New York, USA)
Van Damme Hours – MS M.451 – Morgan Library & Museum (New York, USA)
Van Damme Hours – MS M.451 – Morgan Library & Museum (New York, USA)
Van Damme Hours – MS M.451 – Morgan Library & Museum (New York, USA)
Van Damme Hours – MS M.451 – Morgan Library & Museum (New York, USA)
Van Damme Hours – MS M.451 – Morgan Library & Museum (New York, USA)
Van Damme Hours – MS M.451 – Morgan Library & Museum (New York, USA)
Van Damme Hours – MS M.451 – Morgan Library & Museum (New York, USA)
Van Damme Hours – MS M.451 – Morgan Library & Museum (New York, USA)
Van Damme Hours – MS M.451 – Morgan Library & Museum (New York, USA)
Van Damme Hours – MS M.451 – Morgan Library & Museum (New York, USA)
Van Damme Hours – MS M.451 – Morgan Library & Museum (New York, USA)
Van Damme Hours – MS M.451 – Morgan Library & Museum (New York, USA)
Van Damme Hours – MS M.451 – Morgan Library & Museum (New York, USA)
Van Damme Hours – MS M.451 – Morgan Library & Museum (New York, USA)
Van Damme Hours – MS M.451 – Morgan Library & Museum (New York, USA)
Van Damme Hours – MS M.451 – Morgan Library & Museum (New York, USA)
Van Damme Hours – MS M.451 – Morgan Library & Museum (New York, USA)
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Price Category: €€ (1,000€ - 3,000€)
Edition available
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  1. Short Description
  2. Codicology

Short Description

The Van-Damme Book of Hours was created in a fantastic collaboration between the scribe Antonius van Damme (active 1495–1545) and the Flemish illuminator Simon Bening (1483–1561). Both knew each other for almost 50 years and together they created a delightful small-format book of hours, which is furnished with 32 realistic full-page miniatures and 32 first-class initial pages. The patron of the precious manuscript is unknown to us today and even Bening, the greatest miniature master of the 16th century, is not named. However, the lively calendar miniatures contain stylistic and iconographic features in their charming details that were typical for him.

Van Damme Hours

During the last golden age of Flemish book painting, a small-format book of hours originated in the workshops of the scribe Antonius van Damme (active 1495–1545) and the well-known miniature painter Simon Bening (1483–1561) in Bruges. The 258-page manuscript from 1531 captivates with its 32 realistic full-page miniatures, which are hard to beat in terms of their richness of detail and brilliant coloring. There are also 32 initial pages, whose floral borders form a fascinating contrast to the religious scenes and calendar pages. The scribe’s gotica rotunda is characterized by an incredible degree of uniformity with evenly spaced, almost square letters, which are evident in the book of hours at hand.

Uncomfortable Field Work and Aristocratic Pleasures

The twelve calendar pages with their charming vignettes, whose scenes show both the heavy field work of the farmers, as well as the aristocratic amusements of the rich, are especially appealing. Bening portrays the reality of everyday life in 16th century Flanders with great attention to detail. For the rich, it is mainly activities such as feasting, hunting, and cozy gatherings, while the peasants cultivate the fields and vineyards, collect harvests, and look after the animals. However, what all monthly activities have in common is that they take place against the backdrop of seasonal change.

Modern “Close Ups”

Dramatic "close-ups" are a tasteful way to reduce the distance between the viewer and the characters. Bening deliberately places his actors close to the front edge of the picture and thus creates a more intimate mood. This compositional fineness gives the scenes, e.g. people sitting before a fire on a cold winter’s day, a greater sense of immediacy for the beholder. Housed in a red velvet binding with fine silver filigree covers, this Flemish book of hours is a masterpiece both inside and out.

Codicology

Alternative Titles
Das Van Damme Stundenbuch
Size / Format
258 pages / 7.4 x 5.6 cm
Date
1531
Style
Gothic
Language
Illustrations
32 full-page miniatures and 12 calendar pictures
Artist / School
Previous Owners
Das Van-Damme Stundenbuch (Deluxe Edition)

Van Damme Hours

Annunciation to the Shepherds

The glorious declaration of Christ’s birth by an angel to a nearby group of shepherds has become a beloved theme of Christmas carols: “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” (Lk. 2:10–11)

The moment of the angel’s appearance in the sky is depicted in incredible detail considering that this page could barely cover the palm of one’s hand. Such is its majesty that the shepherds have to shield their eyes from the golden rays that illuminate the night’s sky. Simon Bening innovatively incorporates a close up in the foreground of this impressive landscape to convey a sense of surprise and wonder.

2 available facsimile edition(s) of „Van Damme Hours“

Das Van-Damme Stundenbuch (Deluxe Edition)
Van Damme Hours – MS M.451 – Morgan Library & Museum (New York, USA)
Van Damme Hours – MS M.451 – Morgan Library & Museum (New York, USA)
Van Damme Hours – MS M.451 – Morgan Library & Museum (New York, USA)
Van Damme Hours – MS M.451 – Morgan Library & Museum (New York, USA)
Van Damme Hours – MS M.451 – Morgan Library & Museum (New York, USA)
Van Damme Hours – MS M.451 – Morgan Library & Museum (New York, USA)
Van Damme Hours – MS M.451 – Morgan Library & Museum (New York, USA)
Van Damme Hours – MS M.451 – Morgan Library & Museum (New York, USA)
Van Damme Hours – MS M.451 – Morgan Library & Museum (New York, USA)
Van Damme Hours – MS M.451 – Morgan Library & Museum (New York, USA)
Van Damme Hours – MS M.451 – Morgan Library & Museum (New York, USA)
Van Damme Hours – MS M.451 – Morgan Library & Museum (New York, USA)
Van Damme Hours – MS M.451 – Morgan Library & Museum (New York, USA)
Van Damme Hours – MS M.451 – Morgan Library & Museum (New York, USA)
Van Damme Hours – MS M.451 – Morgan Library & Museum (New York, USA)
Van Damme Hours – MS M.451 – Morgan Library & Museum (New York, USA)
Van Damme Hours – MS M.451 – Morgan Library & Museum (New York, USA)
Van Damme Hours – MS M.451 – Morgan Library & Museum (New York, USA)
Van Damme Hours – MS M.451 – Morgan Library & Museum (New York, USA)
Van Damme Hours – MS M.451 – Morgan Library & Museum (New York, USA)
Van Damme Hours – MS M.451 – Morgan Library & Museum (New York, USA)
Van Damme Hours – MS M.451 – Morgan Library & Museum (New York, USA)
Van Damme Hours – MS M.451 – Morgan Library & Museum (New York, USA)
Imageof

Das Van-Damme Stundenbuch (Deluxe Edition)

1 volume: Exact reproduction of the original document (extent, color and size)
Publisher
Faksimile Verlag – Munich, 2013
Limited Edition
98 copies
Binding
The Deluxe Edition has a reproduction of the genuine silver filigree Venetian binding from the 18th century, in which the manuscript is preserved today. The facsimile as well as the commentary volume are presented in a fine leather box with a transparent “window” which allows a look at the delicate binding even when the box is closed.
Commentary
1 volume (98 pages) by Roger S. Wieck
Language: English
More Information
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: €€ (1,000€ - 3,000€)
Edition available
Price: Login here!
Das Van-Damme Stundenbuch (Standard Edition)
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Das Van-Damme Stundenbuch (Standard Edition)

Publisher
Faksimile Verlag – Munich, 2013
More Information
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.
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