Hours of Mary of Burgundy
Tue, 2020-Mar-24 00:19 UTC
Length - 3:37
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The featured article for Tuesday, 24 March 2020 is Hours of Mary of Burgundy.
The Hours of Mary of Burgundy (German: Stundenbuch der Maria von Burgund) is a book of hours, a form of devotional book for lay-people, completed in Flanders around 1477. It was probably commissioned for Mary of Burgundy, then the wealthiest woman in Europe; Mary was the only child of Charles the Bold, Duke of Burgundy and wife of Maximilian I, ruler of the Holy Roman Empire. No records survive as to its commission. The book contains 187 folios, each measuring 22.5 by 15 centimetres (8.9 in × 5.9 in). It consists of the Roman Liturgy of the Hours, 24 calendar roundels, 20 full-page miniatures and 16 quarter-page format illustrations. Its production began c. 1470, and includes miniatures by several artists, of which the foremost was the unidentified but influential illuminator known as the Master of Mary of Burgundy, who provides the book with its most meticulously detailed illustrations and borders. Other miniatures, considered of an older tradition, were contributed by Simon Marmion, Willem Vrelant and Lieven van Lathem. The majority of the calligraphy is attributed to Nicolas Spierinc, with whom the Master collaborated on other works and who may also have provided a number of illustrations.
The two most well known illustrations contain a revolutionary trompe-l'oeil technique of showing a second perspective through an open window from the main pictorial setting. It is sometimes known as one of the black books of hours, due to the dark and sombre appearance of the first 34 pages, in which the gilded letter was written on black panels. The book has been described as "undoubtedly [...] among the most important works of art made in the late middle ages...a milestone in the history of art and one of the most precious objects of the late middle ages". Given the dark colourisation and mournful tone of the opening folios, the book may originally have been intended to mark the death of Charles, who died aged 43 in 1477 at the Battle of Nancy. Mid-ways through its production it is thought to have been recommissioned as gift to celebrate Mary's marriage to Maximilian. Tonally the early pages change from dark, sombre colours to a later sense of optimism and unity.
This recording reflects the Wikipedia text as of 00:19 UTC on Tuesday, 24 March 2020.
For the full current version of the article, see Hours of Mary of Burgundy on Wikipedia.
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