Willelm Vrelant Book of Hours

Willelm Vrelant Book of Hours

Bruges (Belgium) — Second half of the 15th century

A treat on every page: the masterpiece of the Flemish book painter Willem Vrelant

  1. Originating from the years 1455–60, this manuscript features the finest illumination on every page

  2. These Flemish masterpieces are the work of the gifted Flemish miniaturist Willem Vrelant (d. ca. 1481/82)

  3. A female figure indicates that the manuscript was presumably the wedding gift of a French patron

Willelm Vrelant Book of Hours

  1. Description
  2. Facsimile Editions (1)
Description
Willelm Vrelant Book of Hours

This gorgeous book of hours stands squarely in the great tradition of 15th century Flemish illumination. Originating from the years 1455–60, the precious manuscript features the finest illumination on every page including 23 full-page miniatures. These masterpieces of Flemish illumination are the work of Willem Vrelant, one of the most gifted miniaturists in Bruges, who stood in the service of the Duke of Burgundy inter alia.

Willelm Vrelant Book of Hours

The life of Christ stands at the center of the manuscript’s enchanting miniatures. The Annunciation, the birth in the manger in Bethlehem, and a Lamentation scene are recorded inter alia in admirable, fine painting. A highpoint of these primary miniatures is the terrific depiction of the Madonna with child under gorgeous cupola architecture, surrounded by a choir of four musical angels. All of these scenes are imbedded in a Flemish landscape and today they transmit the charm that the illumination must have had for the 15th century beholder.

A Masterful Miniaturist

Willem Vrelant (1410.1481) is considered to be the creator of these gorgeous miniatures. Vrelant is regarded as one of the most successful and influential miniaturists of his time. He was active in Bruges and completed commissions for Duke Philip the Good of Burgundy inter alia. The grandiose style of 15th century Flemish illumination, one of the undisputed high points in the history of illumination, can be retraced with the aid of his art!

Ornamented Pages Shining Like Gold

The so-called Vrelant Book of Hours, stored today in the Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana in Florenz, is an impressive testimonial to his art. The 384 pages of the manuscript are illuminated throughout and adorned with 23 full-page miniatures and gorgeous monumental frames. Colorful, golden, fine floral ornamentation, permeated with figurative depictions of animals, angels, and fantastic creatures decorate the pages. Additionally, the typical calendar pages are designed in a particularly impressive manner, each with two figurative scenes of the course of the agricultural year and the signs of the zodiac, respectively.

The Mystery Surrounding the Patron

The manuscript originated from the years 1455–60 and was presumably the wedding gift of a French patron. This is indicated by the depiction of a female figure in prayer, perhaps the owner of this private prayer and devotional book. The Spanish infant Maria Luisa, Queen of Etruria, bequeathed the book of hours to the Library of Florence in the year 1806. It is for this reason that the book of hours is also known as the Libro d’Ore di Maria Luisa di Borbone.

Codicology

Alternative Titles
Libro d'ore di Vrelant (Officium Beatae Mariae Virginis secundum usum romanum)
Vrelant-Stundenbuch
Size / Format
384 pages / 26.5 × 17.5 cm
Origin
Belgium
Date
Second half of the 15th century
Language
Illustrations
23 full-page miniatures
Artist / School
Previous Owners
Maria Luiva of Spain

Available facsimile editions:
Willelm Vrelant Book of Hours – Ms. Acquisti e Doni 147 – Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana (Florence, Italy)
De Agostini/UTET – Rome/Turin, 2005
Limited Edition: 530 copies
Facsimile Editions

#1 Libro d'ore di Vrelant (Officium Beatae Mariae Virginis secundum usum romanum)

De Agostini/UTET – Rome/Turin, 2005

Publisher: De Agostini/UTET – Rome/Turin, 2005
Limited Edition: 530 copies
Binding: Leather
Commentary: 1 volume
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.
Price Category: €€€ (3,000€ - 7,000€)
Edition available
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