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Workshop of Gerard Horenbout
Workshop of Gerard Horenbout The 'Book of Hours of Charles V', use of Rome, in Latin, illuminated manuscript on vellum [Ghent, c.1515] A book of exquisite miniatures and figurative borders associated with the court painter Gerard Horenbout of Ghent, and adapted with the motto of the Emperor Charles V; the entrancing scenes of daily life include... moreWorkshop of Gerard Horenbout
The 'Book of Hours of Charles V', use of Rome, in Latin, illuminated manuscript on vellum [Ghent, c.1515]
A book of exquisite miniatures and figurative borders associated with the court painter Gerard Horenbout of Ghent, and adapted with the motto of the Emperor Charles V; the entrancing scenes of daily life include one of the earliest representations of the game of golf.
95 x 66mm. i paper + 182 + i paper: 15 lines ruled in pink, ruled space: 53 x 37mm, one- and two-line initials and line endings in gold or white on grounds of red, pink, blue or green, large initials of acanthus and stems, many with flower or fruit infills, on coloured grounds, ten full-page miniatures in full historiated or illusionistic borders, fifteen similar full borders, 24 full historiated borders for the Calendar (lacking five miniatures on inserted leaves before ff.78, 93, 105, 161 and 180).
Binding: Second half of the 19th century, French or Belgian, in close imitation of a mid 16th-century entrelac binding: alum-tawed leather over thin wooden boards with inner bevel, gilt with gouges and tools and with painted interlace in red, green, blue, black and white, on the upper cover the central oval with the Pillars of Hercules emblem and motto Plus ultra of the Emperor Charles V under an imperial crown, on the lower cover a simpler interlace with a central roundel with the imperial double-headed eagle under an imperial crown on a purple ground, spine in four compartments, 2 with parti-coloured lozenges with gold dots, 2 with black interlace and single fleuron, edges gilt, gauffered and painted with the Plus ultra motto on banderoles at top and bottom and an imperial eagle on the fore-edge, green silk headbands, two silver clasps, pouch of brown morocco with scalloped flap lined in red velvet (lightly rubbed with loss of some paint); modern brown morocco-backed slipcase. The binding was celebrated in the 1895 catalogue of the Hoe collection as an exquisite Renaissance binding for the Emperor Charles V; in the same year Ernest Quentin-Bauchart revealed it as a recent binding, while confirming that its gilt edges and the internal appearance of the Imperial devise were 16th century (see Provenance below). He attributed it to Theodore Hagué for a M. Paradis; it is of significantly higher quality than bindings executed by Hagué owned by John Blacker.
Panel with DEUM TIME/ PAUPERES SUSTINE/ MEMENTO FINIS f.1; blanks ff.2-3; Calendar ff.4v-16; Hours of the Virgin, use of Rome, ff.18-113; Te matrem dei laudamus, the Te deum redirected to the Virgin Mary, ff.113v-118; Penitential Psalms and litany ff.120-151; prayers ff.153-182v: prayer indulgenced if said ‘before an image of pity’ f.153, Psalm 90 f.155v, verses of St Bernard f.158, indulgenced prayer f.160, Obsecro te f.161, O intemerata f.168, prayer attributed to St Augustine f.172, Stabat mater f.180.
The injunction, ‘Fear God, Sustain the poor, Remember the end’, f.1, is found elsewhere, including a Ghent-Bruges Hours of c.1500 in Modena (Biblioteca Estense, ms lat.39, f.13v) and an Hours illuminated by Simon Bening c.1540 in the James A. de Rothschild Collection (Waddesdon Manor ms 26, f.126v).
The illumination belongs to the great tradition that evolved from Simon Marmion, in Valenciennes by 1458, and from the Master of Mary of Burgundy and his contemporaries and successors in Ghent, notably the Master of the First Prayerbook of the Emperor Maximilian, often identified with Alexander Bening (d.1519), Gerard Horenbout (active 1487-c.1540), here identified with the Master of James IV of Scotland, and Alexander’s son, Simon Bening (1483/4-1561), who settled in Bruges. In shifting collaborations, these outstanding artists were responsible for some of the greatest Renaissance manuscripts: the Rothschild Prayerbook c.1505-1510 (Kerry Stokes Collection, sold for a record breaking price at Christie’s, New York, 29 January 2014, lot 157), the Breviary in the Mayer van den Bergh Museum, Antwerp, c.1510 (inv. 496), the Spinola Hours c.1510-20 (J. Paul Getty Museum, ms Ludwig IX 18), and the Grimani Breviary c.1515-20 (Venice, Biblioteca Marciana, ms Lat. I 99). A noted characteristic of these books is the sharing of patterns for miniatures and borders by artists in different styles, drawing on the rich legacy extended and transmitted principally by the Maximilian Master. Small devotional books were popular: Simon Bening produced some notable examples, such as the Imhof Prayerbook, 1511 (sold Christie’s, 6 July 2011, lot 26). Themes famous from some of the most significant devotional books of the time appear in the Charles V Hours on an entrancingly small scale, with the earlier fashions of the originals often deliberately repeated to satisfy the continuing delight in the golden age of the Valois Dukes of Burgundy. Steeple headdresses, for instance, appear on ff.8v and 93; the latest costume depicted indicates a date c.1515.
Its miniatures and borders are probably the work of one hand, an illuminator fascinated by light effects, cast shadows and reflections; eyes are often animated by sharp white catchlights in the pupils. His backgrounds include intriguing details, like the archery contest on f.9 or the dancing shepherds on f.70v, a motif familiar from volumes, like the Rothschild and Imhof Prayerbooks, f.109 and f.177, where it occupies an entire border and lacks the bonfire that this artist exploits to enhance the rhythm of the dancers with their elongated shadows. Cast shadows and night scenes are also a notable feature of Horenbout’s one documented work, the completion of the Sforza Hours between 1517 and January 1521 for Margaret of Austria, Governess of the Netherlands for her nephew Charles (London BL, Add. Add. ms 34294).
The occupations of the months in the Charles V Hours relate closely to a group of calendars associated with Horenbout, which includes, among others, the Spinola Hours, the Rothschild Prayerbook and the Mayer van Bergh Breviary (T. Kren and S. McKendrick, Illuminating the Renaissance: The Triumph of Flemish Manuscript Painting in Europe, 2003, p.324, and for most of the manuscripts mentioned). The elaborate fictive framing of the Horenbout group calendars is here replaced by a light frame enclosing text and zodiac symbol so that they seem to float in front of the border landscape, an effect more typical of the Master of the David Scenes in the Grimani Breviary. In the calendar of his Brukenthal Hours of c.1495 (Sibiu, Muzeul Brukenthal, ms 761) the landscape borders are continuous across each opening, also an appealing feature of the Charles V Hours.
It is possible that the illuminator of the Charles V Hours contributed to the Mayer van den Bergh Calendar: compare, for instance, the figures in May (M. Smeyers and J. van der Stock eds, Flemish Illuminated Manuscripts 1475-1550, 1996, pp.62-3). The Breviary calendar has been attributed to the Maximilian Master and Workshop but this illuminator is closer to Horenbout in his broader headed figures, more structured modelling of faces, complex architectural interiors and appreciation of patterned cloths of gold. Horenbout is the probable source for the integration of border and miniature into one scene, as on f.119v, where David’s pose and immediate setting come from the Master of the Houghton Miniatures c.1480, with the addition of the minute background incidents characteristic of the Charles V illuminator (T. Kren, ‘The importance of patterns in the emergence of a new style of Flemish manuscript illumination after 1470’, Manuscripts in Transition. Recycling Manuscripts, Texts and Images, B. Dekeyzer and J. van der Stock eds, 2005, pp. 357-77). In the foreground, he establishes an area equivalent to a lower border, where boys blowing bubbles contrast poignantly with the boy David confronting Goliath opposite.
Some miniatures reproduce their models comparatively closely. The Presentation in the Temple reflects the figure types of the Vienna Master of Mary of Burgundy, its apparent inventor: see his Hours of Engelbert of Nassau, subsequently owned by Mary’s son and Charles’s father, Philip the Handsome (Oxford, Bodleian Library, ms Douce 219, f.152v). The Mass of St Gregory, also based on a composition connected with the Vienna Master (Voustre demeure Hours, Berlin, Kupferstichkabinett, ms 78 B 13, f.15), has figures translated into the illuminator’s own idiom and the church setting characteristically made more complex and enlivened with distant figures. The Annunciation to the Shepherds in the Berlin Hours of Mary of Burgundy (Berlin, Kupferstichkabinett ms 78 B 12, f.137) becomes a much more dramatic night scene in the Charles V Hours, f.70v, closer in spirit to the great Ghent painter Hugo van der Goes, who inspired both it and the format of the half-length Lamentation, f.167v, which follows an admired composition used by the Maximilian Master in the Hours of Isabella of Castile c.1500 (Cleveland Museum of Art, CMA 63.256, f.261v). The striking Night Nativity, with its three light sources – the angel appearing to the shepherd, the lantern Joseph has taken to meet the midwives and the Christ Child Himself – depends on a lost van der Goes, known from copies (e.g. London, National Gallery, NG 2159).
The captivating borders similarly combine established patterns with more individual features like the beguiling series of children’s games, ff.16, 45v, 46 (golf, with an older player swinging his club in the background), 70v, 85v, 86 and 119v. The boys spinning tops, f.70v, follow a model that is first known in masterpieces by Marmion and the Master of the Houghton Miniatures of c.1480, like the Huth Hours (BL Add. ms 31826, f.46). In books associated with the Maximilian Master and/or Horenbout, the Hours of Philip of Cleves c. 1485 (Brussels, KBR ms IV 40, f.133), the Hours of James IV c.1502-1503 (Vienna ÖNB cod. 1897, ff.15, 190) and the Rothschild Prayerbook (f.241)...
23 Apr 2021