Gothic aesthetics and the influences of the Italian Renaissance: gorgeous grisaille painting for Emperor Charles V

Younger Prayer Book of Charles V

Flenders — After 1540

Younger Prayer Book of Charles V

Younger Prayer Book of Charles V

Flenders — After 1540

  1. The great art patron Emperor Charles V (1500–58) commissioned this monument of Flemish illumination

  2. The surprisingly plastic grisaille illumination is executed with fine shading and gold highlights

  3. The subtle yet masterful illumination combines Gothic aesthetics with Italian Renaissance influences

Das jüngere Gebetbuch Kaiser Karls V

Younger Prayer Book of Charles V

Nativity Scene

Mary and Joseph are shown kneeling on either side of the manger in awe of the baby Jesus as a donkey and an ox look on. The Virgin and her miraculous child both have golden auras while Joseph merely has a simple halo. Employing gold ink is especially effective in combination with the grisaille style due to its lack of color and emphasis on shading. Incomplete buildings in the background make it appear as though they have found shelter on a construction site.

Younger Prayer Book of Charles V

Alternative Titles:
  • Das jüngere Gebetbuch Kaiser Karls V.
  • Jüngeres Gebetbuch Kaiser Karls V.
Younger Prayer Book of Charles V – Cod. Ser. n. 13.251 – Österreichische Nationalbibliothek (Vienna, Austria)
Younger Prayer Book of Charles V – Cod. Ser. n. 13.251 – Österreichische Nationalbibliothek (Vienna, Austria)
Younger Prayer Book of Charles V – Cod. Ser. n. 13.251 – Österreichische Nationalbibliothek (Vienna, Austria)
Younger Prayer Book of Charles V – Cod. Ser. n. 13.251 – Österreichische Nationalbibliothek (Vienna, Austria)
Younger Prayer Book of Charles V – Cod. Ser. n. 13.251 – Österreichische Nationalbibliothek (Vienna, Austria)
Younger Prayer Book of Charles V – Cod. Ser. n. 13.251 – Österreichische Nationalbibliothek (Vienna, Austria)
Younger Prayer Book of Charles V – Cod. Ser. n. 13.251 – Österreichische Nationalbibliothek (Vienna, Austria)
Younger Prayer Book of Charles V – Cod. Ser. n. 13.251 – Österreichische Nationalbibliothek (Vienna, Austria)
Younger Prayer Book of Charles V – Cod. Ser. n. 13.251 – Österreichische Nationalbibliothek (Vienna, Austria)
Younger Prayer Book of Charles V – Cod. Ser. n. 13.251 – Österreichische Nationalbibliothek (Vienna, Austria)
Younger Prayer Book of Charles V – Cod. Ser. n. 13.251 – Österreichische Nationalbibliothek (Vienna, Austria)
Younger Prayer Book of Charles V – Cod. Ser. n. 13.251 – Österreichische Nationalbibliothek (Vienna, Austria)
Younger Prayer Book of Charles V – Cod. Ser. n. 13.251 – Österreichische Nationalbibliothek (Vienna, Austria)
Younger Prayer Book of Charles V – Cod. Ser. n. 13.251 – Österreichische Nationalbibliothek (Vienna, Austria)
Younger Prayer Book of Charles V – Cod. Ser. n. 13.251 – Österreichische Nationalbibliothek (Vienna, Austria)
Younger Prayer Book of Charles V – Cod. Ser. n. 13.251 – Österreichische Nationalbibliothek (Vienna, Austria)
Younger Prayer Book of Charles V – Cod. Ser. n. 13.251 – Österreichische Nationalbibliothek (Vienna, Austria)
Younger Prayer Book of Charles V – Cod. Ser. n. 13.251 – Österreichische Nationalbibliothek (Vienna, Austria)
Younger Prayer Book of Charles V – Cod. Ser. n. 13.251 – Österreichische Nationalbibliothek (Vienna, Austria)
Younger Prayer Book of Charles V – Cod. Ser. n. 13.251 – Österreichische Nationalbibliothek (Vienna, Austria)
Younger Prayer Book of Charles V – Cod. Ser. n. 13.251 – Österreichische Nationalbibliothek (Vienna, Austria)
Younger Prayer Book of Charles V – Cod. Ser. n. 13.251 – Österreichische Nationalbibliothek (Vienna, Austria)
Younger Prayer Book of Charles V – Cod. Ser. n. 13.251 – Österreichische Nationalbibliothek (Vienna, Austria)
Younger Prayer Book of Charles V – Cod. Ser. n. 13.251 – Österreichische Nationalbibliothek (Vienna, Austria)
Younger Prayer Book of Charles V – Cod. Ser. n. 13.251 – Österreichische Nationalbibliothek (Vienna, Austria)
Younger Prayer Book of Charles V – Cod. Ser. n. 13.251 – Österreichische Nationalbibliothek (Vienna, Austria)
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  1. Short Description
  2. Codicology

Short Description

Emperor Charles V was one of the most powerful European monarchs in history, with lands ranging from Austria to the Netherlands to Spain and all the way to the New World. He was also one of the greatest patrons of the arts, so much so that his prayer books, aside from his other illuminated manuscripts, have to be distinguished from one another, though all are masterpieces in their own right. The Younger Prayer Book of Charles V belongs to the most precious monuments of the late period of Flemish book painting, and originated ca. 1540. All decorative elements and miniatures are executed in grisaille where gold highlights and fine shades of dark and bright grey lend the monochrome painting plastic vivacity. The Younger Prayer Book of Charles V constitutes an important milestone in the development of Flemish book painting after 1530, because it documents a strong Italianate influence alongside the inherited Gothic tradition.

Younger Prayer Book of Charles V

The Younger Prayer Book of Charles V belongs to the most precious monuments of the late period of Flemish book painting. It was made for the Emperor after 1540 in a workshop in Flanders, where the art of book illumination still flourished in unbroken continuity, long after book printing had triumphed and hand-made books had become increasingly rare.

Gold and Grisaille

The beauty of the prayer book and its artistic decoration are convincing. All decorative elements and miniatures are executed in grisaille where gold highlights and fine shades of dark and bright grey lend the monochrome painting plastic vivacity. The reduced colors and the rich use of gold make this precious devotional book an object of truly noble charm and sumptuous art. The contents of the prayer book essentially correspond to the structure of a book of hours, which is generally based on the devotion to the Virgin and numerous other pious prayers. The work is introduced by a calendar. The text is enlivened with red rubrics and prayer titles, often with red majuscules. It contains numerous initials, 429 in total, all shaded in grey on a black ground, which is filled with gold sand and framed with golden lines. Both the renascence script and the illustrations are derived from Italian models and form a rare stylistic harmony. The pictorial decoration comprises three full-size title pages, two astronomic clocks, two vignettes and a total of 73 miniatures, all framed with three-dimensional profiles, and composed to accompany and illustrate the pious prayers.

Picture and Text in a Harmony of Style

The text is written in humanistica formata, a renascence script in clear shape with well-proportioned letters, which goes back to a print type antiqua of Italian influence. As the miniatures in the codex also betray Italianate sources, the picture and the text unite in perfect harmony. The miniatures of the Younger Prayer Book of Charles V appear as framed devotional pictures inlaid in the text. Their scenic and architectural backgrounds provide an impression of three-dimensionality and the beholder’s look falls from the flat text page through the wooden frame into the depth of the picture. The small initials snuggled on the frames remain, however, on the flat surface.

Elegance and Brilliant Decoration

The Younger Prayer Book of Charles V was made about two decades after the Older Prayer Book and is radically different in terms of layout and coloring. Many full-length pictures or full and half page miniatures are either reduced to half-length figures or busts or shrunk to a smaller size. Even the framing of the miniatures is different in the Younger Prayer Book, as miniature and prayer incipit are no longer paired, but the miniatures are composed into narrow frames with golden brown borders to lend the picture a hint of plasticity.

Influenced by Italian masters

The Younger Prayer Book of Charles V constitutes an important milestone in the development of Flemish book painting after 1530, because it documents a strong Italianate influence alongside the inherited Gothic tradition. With this book of hours, we preserve a work of art to document what is to many a surprising facet of Flemish book illumination. The reduced exuberance of its decoration and the restrained coloring enhancing the golden highlights lend the work a noble character appropriate to a prayer book for an emperor in his mature age.

Codicology

Alternative Titles
Das jüngere Gebetbuch Kaiser Karls V.
Jüngeres Gebetbuch Kaiser Karls V.
Size / Format
248 pages / 14.0 x 7.5 cm
Origin
Flenders
Date
After 1540
Language
Illustrations
3 full-page frontispieces, 2 astronomical watches, 2 vignettes, 73 miniatures with gold ornaments and 429 initials
Das jüngere Gebetbuch Kaiser Karls V

Younger Prayer Book of Charles V

Arrest of Jesus

This marvelous specimen of the grisaille technique bridges the transition from Gothic to Renaissance illumination and is masterfully shaded and highlighted with strokes of gold ink. The miniature compresses the events in the garden of Gethsemane, simultaneously showing the kiss of Judas and his arrest as the soldiers lay hands on Jesus and grapple with his disciples.

Unlike most depictions of this famous episode from the Passion, which focus on Christ’s calm resignation at the fulfillment of his own prophecy of betrayal, this scene is remarkable for its chaos and violence. Christ is an island of grace amidst a sea of brawling men dressed as contemporary mercenaries armed with clubs, swords, torches, spears, and halberds.

1 available facsimile edition(s) of „Younger Prayer Book of Charles V“

Das jüngere Gebetbuch Kaiser Karls V
Younger Prayer Book of Charles V – Cod. Ser. n. 13.251 – Österreichische Nationalbibliothek (Vienna, Austria)
Younger Prayer Book of Charles V – Cod. Ser. n. 13.251 – Österreichische Nationalbibliothek (Vienna, Austria)
Younger Prayer Book of Charles V – Cod. Ser. n. 13.251 – Österreichische Nationalbibliothek (Vienna, Austria)
Younger Prayer Book of Charles V – Cod. Ser. n. 13.251 – Österreichische Nationalbibliothek (Vienna, Austria)
Younger Prayer Book of Charles V – Cod. Ser. n. 13.251 – Österreichische Nationalbibliothek (Vienna, Austria)
Younger Prayer Book of Charles V – Cod. Ser. n. 13.251 – Österreichische Nationalbibliothek (Vienna, Austria)
Younger Prayer Book of Charles V – Cod. Ser. n. 13.251 – Österreichische Nationalbibliothek (Vienna, Austria)
Younger Prayer Book of Charles V – Cod. Ser. n. 13.251 – Österreichische Nationalbibliothek (Vienna, Austria)
Younger Prayer Book of Charles V – Cod. Ser. n. 13.251 – Österreichische Nationalbibliothek (Vienna, Austria)
Younger Prayer Book of Charles V – Cod. Ser. n. 13.251 – Österreichische Nationalbibliothek (Vienna, Austria)
Younger Prayer Book of Charles V – Cod. Ser. n. 13.251 – Österreichische Nationalbibliothek (Vienna, Austria)
Younger Prayer Book of Charles V – Cod. Ser. n. 13.251 – Österreichische Nationalbibliothek (Vienna, Austria)
Younger Prayer Book of Charles V – Cod. Ser. n. 13.251 – Österreichische Nationalbibliothek (Vienna, Austria)
Younger Prayer Book of Charles V – Cod. Ser. n. 13.251 – Österreichische Nationalbibliothek (Vienna, Austria)
Younger Prayer Book of Charles V – Cod. Ser. n. 13.251 – Österreichische Nationalbibliothek (Vienna, Austria)
Younger Prayer Book of Charles V – Cod. Ser. n. 13.251 – Österreichische Nationalbibliothek (Vienna, Austria)
Younger Prayer Book of Charles V – Cod. Ser. n. 13.251 – Österreichische Nationalbibliothek (Vienna, Austria)
Younger Prayer Book of Charles V – Cod. Ser. n. 13.251 – Österreichische Nationalbibliothek (Vienna, Austria)
Younger Prayer Book of Charles V – Cod. Ser. n. 13.251 – Österreichische Nationalbibliothek (Vienna, Austria)
Younger Prayer Book of Charles V – Cod. Ser. n. 13.251 – Österreichische Nationalbibliothek (Vienna, Austria)
Younger Prayer Book of Charles V – Cod. Ser. n. 13.251 – Österreichische Nationalbibliothek (Vienna, Austria)
Younger Prayer Book of Charles V – Cod. Ser. n. 13.251 – Österreichische Nationalbibliothek (Vienna, Austria)
Younger Prayer Book of Charles V – Cod. Ser. n. 13.251 – Österreichische Nationalbibliothek (Vienna, Austria)
Younger Prayer Book of Charles V – Cod. Ser. n. 13.251 – Österreichische Nationalbibliothek (Vienna, Austria)
Younger Prayer Book of Charles V – Cod. Ser. n. 13.251 – Österreichische Nationalbibliothek (Vienna, Austria)
Younger Prayer Book of Charles V – Cod. Ser. n. 13.251 – Österreichische Nationalbibliothek (Vienna, Austria)
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Das jüngere Gebetbuch Kaiser Karls V

1 volume: Exact reproduction of the original document (extent, color and size)
Publisher
Akademische Druck- u. Verlagsanstalt (ADEVA) – Graz, 1993
Limited Edition
980 copies
Binding
Red velvet
Commentary
1 volume (112 pages) by Otto Mazal
Language: German

The comprehensive commentary was written by Otto Mazal and comes in a case, together with the facsimile in a red binding. It contains a codicological and palaeographic analysis of the manuscript as well as contributions on the artistic decoration and the texts of the prayer book.

Introduction by Otto Mazal, Vienna. 112 pp., 14,3 x 20,3 cm, cloth.
More Information
All folios are cut according to the original.
Price Category: € (under 1,000€)
Edition available
Price: Login here!
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