Sixteenth-Century Flemish Book of Hours

[Book of Hours. Use of Rome].
[France (Tours?) or Flanders, ca. 1525].
Illuminated manuscript on vellum. (BRMS 16)

This remarkable manuscript was illuminated by a Flemish-trained artist of great skill.  It was produced after 1519, as it contains a commemoration and accompanying miniature of St. Franciscus de Paulo, who was canonized by Leo X that year. The Italian saint was particularly venerated in France, having served and befriended King Louis XI at Plessis-lez-Tours in 1482. He later established his humble order, the Minimi fratres (the “least brethren”), in various locations while remaining at Plessis-lez-Tours until his death in 1507.

The program of illustration found in this manuscript is extensive, consisting of twenty large miniatures with trompe-l’oeil borders (deceiving the eye with flowers, birds, insects, and other decorative elements laid across the page), twenty-four small miniatures of saints, and numerous illuminated initials. Perhaps most impressive are the convincing folds and textures of the draperies and the airy atmospheres of the landscapes. Despite the loss of the calendar, this is a richly decorated manuscript worthy of close study.

The Ruth and Lyle Sellers Medical Collection

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Devotional Books
Sixteenth-Century Flemish Book of Hours