Book of Hours of Margaret of Austria


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Illuminated Facsimiles

Book of Hours of Margaret of Austria

ALTERNATIVE TITLES – Libro d’Ore di Margherita d’Austria e Alessandro de’ Medici – Book of Hours of Margaret of Austria and Alessandro de’ Medici – Livre d’Heures de Marguerite d’Autriche et Alexandre de Médicis – Stundenbuch der Margarete von Österreich und Alessandro de’ Medici.
PHYSICAL FEATURES – Codex on parchment, size 192 x 109 mm, 150 folios (300 pages).
BINDING – Twentieth-century leather binding with gold impressions, gilt and gauffered edges.
ORIGIN – Italy (Florence).
CHRONOLOGY – 16th century (1536).
PATRONAGE AND OWNERS – The manuscript was commissioned by Alessandro de’ Medici (1510-1537), the first Duke of the Florentine Republic, as a wedding gift for his wife Margaret of Austria (1522-1586), illegitimate daughter of the Holy Roman Emperor, Charles V (1500-1558). Their coats of arms and portraits appear at the beginning of the Officium Virginis Mariae (ff. 25v-26r), and the name «Margherita» is often used in place of the praying one in several prayers. Alessandro de’ Medici was assassinated in 1537 at the hands of his cousin Lorenzo (Lorenzino) di Pierfrancesco de’ Medici, also known as Lorenzaccio (1514-1548), exponent of the cadet branch Popolano (or Trebbio) of the Medici family. On 1538 Margaret married Ottavio Farnese (1524-1586), Duke of Parma and brother of Alessandro Farnese (1520-1589), becoming Duchess of Parma and Piacenza and Governor of the Netherlands.
PRESENT LOCATION – In the 18th century the manuscript became part of the endowment of the Biblioteca Corsiniana in Rome.
GENRE – Christianity, Private devotional books.
CONTENT – Like any book of hours, the codex contains a collection of devotional texts for the use of the laity. The name «book of hours» comes from its nucleus, the Hours of the Virgin (the Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary). The Book of Hours of Margaret of Austria and Alessandro de’ Medici contains: the Calendar section that precedes the devotional texts, the pericopes of the Gospels, the Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Penitential Psalms, the litanies, the Office of the Dead, the Hours of the Cross, the Hours of the Holy Spirit, and a large sections of prayers with a closing intercession prayer to Saint Margaret.
SCRIPT – Littera antiqua (humanist minuscule).
DECORATION – The illustrative apparatus consists of 7 full-page miniatures at the beginning of the most important sections of the book: the Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the Penitential Psalms are introduced by a double full-page miniature, while one full-page miniature introduces the Office of the Dead, the Hours of the Cross and the Hours of the Holy Spirit. Small illustrated boxes point out both the sections within the texts, and the texts of secondary importance (e.g. the pericopes of the Gospels and the prayer to Saint Margaret). The miniatures also include figurated initials, large decorated initials, gilt initials of various sizes, decorative surrounds and borders.
ARTISTS – Giovanni Boccardi – also known as Maestro Giovanni or Boccardino the Elder (1460-1529) -, and his son Francesco Boccardi – also known with the pseudonym Boccardino the Younger (1480-1547) -.
STYLE – Renaissance.

Data sheet: Illuminated Facsimiles



Full-size color reproduction of the entire original document – The facsimile reproduces as close as possible the physical characteristics of the original document, with the aim to substitute it in the scientific research and in the libraries of the bibliophile collectors. Trimming and composition of the leaves reproduce the profile and structure of the original document. The binding might not correspond to that of the original document as it appears at the present moment.
PublisherIstituto della Enciclopedia Italiana – Treccani (Rome, 2007).
Series – Tesori Svelati.
Limited edition – 750 hand-numbered copies.
Certificate of authenticity – The authenticity certificate is printed on the colophon of the facsimile. It bears the copy number and is signed by Francesco Paolo Casavola (President of the Istituto della Enciclopedia Italiana in 2007) and Giovanni Conso (President of the Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei in 2007).
Binding – Velvet hand-made binding with medallion on front board.
Commentary – Italian language commentary volume, size 145 x 235 mm, 201 pages, color photos. Introduction and essays by: Bray, Massimo; Benzoni, Gino; Guardo, Marco; Manzari, Francesca.
Slipcase – The facsimile and the commentary volume are housed in a double-compartment leather case.

Copyright photos: Illuminated Facsimiles

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