Black Hours, Morgan MS 493
Sat, 2020-Apr-25 01:42 UTC
Length - 2:50
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The featured article for Saturday, 25 April 2020 is Black Hours, Morgan MS 493.
The Black Hours, MS M.493 (or the Morgan Black Hours) is an illuminated book of hours completed in Bruges between 1460 and 1475. It consists of 121 leaves, with Latin text written in Gothic minuscule script. The words are arranged in rows of fourteen lines, and follow the Roman version of the texts. The lettering is inscribed in silver and gold, and placed within borders ornamented with flowers, foliage and grotesques, on pages dyed a deep blueish black. It contains fourteen full-page miniatures and opens with the months of the liturgical calendar (folios 3 verso – 14 recto), followed by the Hours of the Virgin, and ends with the Office of the Dead (folio 121v).
MS M.493 is one of seven surviving black books of hours, all originating from Bruges and dated to the mid-to-late 15th century. They are so named for their unusual dark blueish appearance, a colourisation achieved through the expensive process of dyeing the vellum with iron gall ink. This dye is very corrosive and the surviving examples are mostly badly decomposed; MS M.493 is in relatively good condition due to its very thick parchment.
The book is a masterpiece of Late Gothic manuscript illumination. No records survive of its commission, but its uniquely dark tone, expense of production, quality and rarity suggest ownership by privileged and sophisticated members of the Burgundian court. The book is often attributed, on stylistic grounds, to a follower of Willem Vrelant, a leading and influential Flemish illuminator. It has been in the collection of the Morgan Library & Museum, New York, since 1912.
This recording reflects the Wikipedia text as of 01:42 UTC on Saturday, 25 April 2020.
For the full current version of the article, see Black Hours, Morgan MS 493 on Wikipedia.
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