Illuminated Manuscripts Part 13

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"Nothing," said Muntz, "is less like the elegant foliages of Ghirlandaio and Attavante, and nothing is more worthy of being put in comparison with them."[60]

[60] _La Renaissance en Italie, etc_., 547-8.

An illuminator of the name of Jehan Poyet is said to have a.s.sisted in the "Hours," thus while Bourdichon painted the miniatures, Poyet put in the flowers and fruit, etc.; but this share of work is by some believed to belong to a smaller Book of Hours executed for the Queen. Flowers and fruit are said to have been Poyet's speciality, and it is quite possible that he may have had the painting of the borders of the "Grandes Heures," while Bourdichon did the rest. The writer of the MS. was another native of Tours, named Jehan Riveron. During the reign of Francis I. the school of Tours was removed to Paris because the Court had settled there. Louis XII. had died in the Hotel des Tournelles, and Francis, though full of plans for _plaisances_ elsewhere, lived mostly in Paris. Fontainebleau is the dream of the near future. Il Rosso, the Italian architect, painter, poet, and musician, was busy there amid a crowd of other artists from Florence and Rome--the refuse of a once brilliant sodality. It was the frivolous, pretty, graceful side of Italian art that came northward in that great migration--the graver and more dignified elements were left behind. To see what Italian art became in France, we have only to enter the Grand Gallery at Fontainebleau, and we see it at its best in architecture, sculpture, and painting. And we cannot help admiring it, for it is amazingly beautiful. Yet it is not Italian--the Italian of the Medici and Farnese palaces. Il Rosso was neither a Michelangelo nor a Carracci; but he set a fashion. He changed the face of art for France. Nor was it in painting and sculpture only.

The Italian pa.s.sion for devises, anagrams, emblems, and mottoes became the rage in Paris. It first came in with the return of Charles VIII.

from his Neapolitan campaign. Louis XII. adopted the hedgehog or porcupine, with the motto "Cominus et eminus." His Queen Claude's motto was "Candida candidis." The Princess Marguerite's emblem was a marigold or heliotrope; others a.s.signed her the daisy. Her motto: "Non inferiora secutus." The well-known emblem of Francis was a salamander--why, is a mystery--with the motto, "Nutrisco et extinguo." All this entered into the taste of the illuminator, and elegant cartouche frames--probably of Dutch origin, as we see in the old map-books of Ortelius Cluverius and Bleau, imported by Ortelius and his friends into Italy, and made use of by Clovis, and thence transferred to France--were made into border-frames for miniatures, varied with altar-forms, doorways, and other fanciful frameworks from the new architecture decorated with flowers, ribbons, panels, mottoes. Another new thing, too, no doubt afforded plenty of suggestion to the illuminator. This was stained gla.s.s. Jean Cousin was in his glory in gla.s.s-painting; Robert Pinagrier also. But it was Cousin who adopted the new Italian ideas, and whose works were models for the illuminator. In the backgrounds and details of his gla.s.s-paintings at Sens, Fleurigny, Paris, and elsewhere, we may trace his progress; and an excellent model, too, was Jean Cousin. He has other claims to remembrance in sculpture, engraving, authorship, but it is as the gla.s.s-painter that his influence is seen in illumination.

Indeed, Mr. A.F. Didot strongly urged the probability that Cousin was himself the illuminator of the splendid Breviary or Hours of Claude Gouffier.[61] The drawing is in his best manner, the frame-border of _caryatides_ in camaieu is of a richness of ornamentation in keeping with the rest of the volume. The arms and motto of Gouffier are painted in it. It is objected that Cousin's name does not appear in the Gouffier account-books, while those of other artists are given. But only a portion of the accounts is extant. Cousin may, perhaps, only have designed the book, and the other miniaturists carried out his designs.

At any rate, the accounts give us the names of three miniaturists which we may here record--Jean Lemaire, of Paris (1555), Charles Jourdain, and Geoffroy Ballin (1359). These "enlumineurs" are stated to have decorated two Books of Hours for Gouffier's wedding. As a good example of the style employed in the decoration of t.i.tle-pages, we may quote the chimney-piece of the Chateau d'Anet, executed for Diane de Poitiers, where a sculptured marble frame surrounds a painted landscape. Many of the books of the time of Francis I. and Henry II. are ornamented in this style.

[61] Now belonging to M. le Vicomte de Tanze.

In the British Museum are several fine MSS. ill.u.s.trative of this period of French illumination, viz. Add. 18853, 18854, and 18855. These three MSS. formed part of the purchase which included the Bedford Offices.

18853 is a Book of Offices executed apparently for Francis I. In some of the borders is a large F with the _Cordeliere_ of the third Order of St.

Francis and a rayed crown, and on folio 97 v. a large monogram consisting of the letter F, with two crossed sceptres and palm branches, surmounted by the crown-royal of France.

Nothing is known of the history of the MS. from 1547 to 1723, when it was in possession of the Regent Philippe d'Orleans. Possibly it had remained as an heirloom in the family. Philippe gave it to his natural son the Abbe Rothelin, a great lover of rare books and a noted collector, at whose death it was bought by Gaignat, another collector, who sold it to the Duc de la Valliere, and so, step by step, it came at length to Sir John Tobin, of Liverpool, and thence to the British Museum.

The partly sculpturesque character of the border-frames are of the kind just referred to, with festoons and garlands of flowers, and drapery, monograms, and emblems in full rich colours; the architecture and other ornaments sometimes finished with pencillings of gold. The miniatures are of excellent design and colour, finely modelled, and quite in the manner of the paintings of Fontainebleau. The text is a combination of Jarry-like Roman with italic. It may be compared with 18854, similar in some respects, but the smaller miniatures and the frames look more like the older school of Tours. This MS. is also a Book of Offices, and was written for Francois de Dinteville, Bishop of Auxerre, in 1525, as appears from an inscription in gold letters on fol. 26 v.

[Ill.u.s.tration: OFFICM. B. MARIae VIRGINES C. 1530 _Brit. Mus. Add. MS. 18853, fol. 52_]

[Ill.u.s.tration: OFFICM. MORTUORUM.

16TH CENT. (EARLY) _Brit. Mus. Egert. MS. 2125, fol. 183_]

Some of the border-frames are drawn in sepia, others in red-brown or burnt siena, and highly finished with gold. The writing is a small Roman hand. On the whole it is richer in ill.u.s.tration than 18853, but not so perfect in drawing, yet it is a very fine MS. Sometimes it has a border like those in the "Hours of Anne of Brittany." On fol. 26 v. is a curious border of twisted ribbons covered with mottoes, such as "Virtutis fortuna comes", "Ingrates servire nephas," etc.

Some of the tiny miniatures of the saints in the _Memoriae_ are very charmingly painted: St. Mary Magdalene, for instance, on fol. 147 v. The pillar architecture of some of the borders, with pendant festoons of flowers, is also very handsome.

18855, folio, is a Book of Offices written in a Gothic text. The miniatures are large full-page paintings within architectural frames or porches, with coloured pillars or pilasters with panels of rich blue, covered with golden traceries, bronze gold pendants at side,--occasional borders as in the "Hours of Anne of Brittany." The work is of the older school of Tours, but loaded with ornamental details from North Italian pilaster-work. Among the best miniatures are the Nativity (34 v.), the Adoration of the Magi (42 v.), and the Bathsheba. The last perhaps a little too open a scene for a lady's bathroom, but placed within a most gorgeous architectural window or doorway (fol. 62 v). Compare also Harl.

5925, No. 574, for a t.i.tle-page of French Renaissance style from a printed book, which suggests Venice as the source of the style of 18853.

In the National Library at Paris are, of course, a number of this cla.s.s of MSS., such as the Offices (MS. Lat. 10563), "Officium Beatae Mariae Virginis ad usum Romanor" (1531), or the exquisitely painted "Heures de Henry 2d" (fds. Lat. 1429), or the magnificent "Epistres d'Ovide" of Louisa of Savoy (fds. fr. 875), and others.

By no means of less importance we may cite the beautiful volume belonging to the late Comte d'Haussonville, now in the Musee Conde at Chantilly, called the "Heures du Connetable Anne de Montmorency," and the "Heures de Dinteville" (MS. Lat. 10558), the decoration of which is quite on a par with the "Heures de Montmorency," or those of Henry II., also the Psalter of Claude Gouffier (a.r.s.enal Lib., 5095), containing the Psalms of Marot.

It is scarcely worth while to carry the subject further. What is done later than Francis II. does not grow finer or better: it only becomes more overloaded with ornament, too much gold, too much richness. Even foliages are often variegated like pearls, or change gradually from colour to colour on the same sweep of acanthus as in a MS. in the British Museum attributed to Pierre Mignard ("Sol Gallicus," Add.

23745). Compare also the "Heures de Louis XIV." Now and then an exceptional work, like that of D'Eaubonne at Rouen, belongs to no particular school.



Late period of Spanish illumination--Isidore of Seville--Archives at Madrid--Barcelona--Toledo--Madrid--Choir-books of the Escorial--Philip II.--Illuminators of the choir-books--The size and beauty of the volumes--Fray Andres de Leon and other artists--Italian influence--Giovanni Battista Scorza of Genoa--Antonio de Holanda, well-known Portuguese miniaturist in sixteenth century--His son Francesco--The choir-books at Belem--French invasion--Missal of Goncalvez--Sandoval Genealogies--Portuguese Genealogies in British Museum--The Stowe Missal of John III.

Since all the best and best-known work of Spanish or Portuguese illuminators was executed in the sixteenth century, and is manifestly a reflection with peculiar mannerisms of either Flemish or Italian illumination of the same period, it may seem almost superfluous to devote a separate chapter to the subject. Yet there is a goodly list of both Spanish and Portuguese artists who practised the art of illumination.

So early as the time of Isidore of Seville we find notices of libraries, copyists, and the like (see book iv. of his Encyclopaedia), and an able writer of the last century, Don Jose Maria de Eguren, published a work on the MS. rarities of Spain.[62] The most important of the miniatures in the famous Codex Vigilano are also reproduced in "El Museo Espanol de antiguedades," most interesting respecting the calligraphy and miniature art of the eleventh century.

[62] _Memoria de los Codices notables conservados en los archivos ecleseasticos de Espana_. Madrid, 1859, L. 8.

One of the earliest instances of royal patronage bestowed on painting in Spain is a doc.u.ment in the Royal Library at Madrid, containing the expenses of King Sanchez IV. in 1291-2. Thus "to Rodrigo Esteban, painter of the king for many paintings done by the king's orders in the bishop's palace 100 golden maravedis." Again, in the archives at Barcelona we find that Juan Cesilles, painter of history, was engaged 16th March, 1382, to paint the "History of the twelve apostles for the grand altar of the Church at Reps for 330 florins." In 1339 one Gonzalez Ferran had some reputation both as a wood engraver and a painter. He was probably a miniaturist. In 1340-81, Garcia Martinez, a Spanish illuminator, worked at Avignon. A copy of the Decretals, dated 1381, in the Cathedral Library of Seville is by his hand.

In the fifteenth century we have many notices of painters, especially in Toledo, whither the taste was in all likelihood brought from Naples after the conquest of that kingdom by Alphonso V. of Aragon in 1441.

It has been observed by those familiar with native Spanish art that its chief characteristic is that it is gloomy. This may be so, but it is not fairly chargeable to the artists but to the tyranny of the Spanish Inquisidor, who laid the embargo on the illuminator that he should not follow the wicked gaiety of the Italians, nor the sometimes too realistic veracity of the Flemings. This accounts usually for backgrounds of black where the Fleming would have had rich colour or gold for the prevalence of black in the draperies and for the sombre tone in general of Spanish painting. It is not always in evidence, as may be seen in many of the miniatures of the famous choir-books in the Escorial. The sombre period began under Ferdinand the Catholic, and it has left its mark on the schools of the fifteenth century. The sixteenth began a new era, and under Philip II. several, both Netherlandish and Italian, miniaturists were invited to a.s.sist in the production of the enormous choir-books ordered by the King for San Lorenzo of the Escorial, between 1572 and 1589. The volumes are bound in wooden boards covered with leather, stamped and bossed with ornaments of gilded bronze. It is said that 5,500 lbs. of bronze and 40 lbs. of pure gold were used in the bindings. The actual dimensions of the volumes are 115 by 84 centimetres. Every volume has at least seventy folios, and every folio is splendidly illuminated, thus affording more than 30,000 pages covered with richly ornamented initials, miniatures, and borders. The illuminators and copyists of these choir-books were Cristobal Ramirez, who planned the work, fixed the size and other details of the volumes and the character of the handwriting, Fray Andres de Leon, Fray Julian de Fuente del Saz, Ambrosio Salazar, Fray Martin de Palencia, Francisco Hernandez, Pedro Salavarte, and Pedro Gomez. Ramirez was engaged at the Escorial from 1566 to 1572. In the latter year he presented a Breviary with musical notation to the King, and was then engaged for the great undertaking mentioned above.

Andres Cristobal was also an illuminator of note at Seville, where he worked from 1555 to 1559. Andres de Leon worked at the Escorial from 1568, and is especially mentioned by Los Santos in his well-known description of the monastery of San Lorenzo: "Son de gran numero y excelencia las iluminaciones que tienen de mano nuestro Fray Andres de Leon, que fue otro Don Julio en el Arte."[63] The allusion is to the celebrated Don Giulio Clovio, then in the height of his fame in Italy.

Fray Julian received similar praise for a _capitolario_ for the princ.i.p.al festivals of the year, especially for the grand dimensions of the miniatures, the like of which the writer says had never been seen before, either in Spain or Italy. Andres de Leon died at the Escorial in 1580. Salazar continued working on them till they were completed, and in 1590 went to Toledo, where he finished two Missals for the Cathedral, which had been begun by the famous Juan Martinez de los Corrales. He was still engaged on similar work until his death in 1604. Two other illuminators, Esteban and Julian de Salazar, were working at the Escorial in 1585. Bermudez[64] mentions Fray Martin de Palencia as having executed a volume in a fine handwriting and with beautiful miniatures for the monastery of Saso. Thus we see there were numerous miniaturists in Spain in the latest years of the existence of the art that had been imported chiefly from Italy.

[63] Fr. Francisco de los Santos, _Description breve del Monasterio de S.

Lorenzo el Real del Escorial_, 24.

[64] Diccionario, iv. 24.

After most of these great choir-books had been finished there were still others in progress. In 1583 Giovanni Battista Scorza of Genoa, who is celebrated in the "Galleria" of the Cavaliero Marini, was invited by the King to take part in his great choir-book scheme. Scorza was then thirty-six years of age, and in the height of his reputation as a painter of small animals and insects. After a little time he returned to Genoa, where he lived to be ninety years old. He had a brother, Sinibaldo, who was equally skilful in miniature, and especially in scenes from history. The Scorzas were pupils of Luca Cambiaso. It may be noticed that all this work in miniature, although so late in its own history, is accomplished before the greatest names in Spanish painting are known. Josefo Ribera was born in 1588; Zurbaran in 1598; Velasquez in 1599; Alonzo Cano in 1601; Murillo in 1617. This, in a sense, is the natural course of things, as, generally, illumination has preceded the other kinds of painting.

With regard to Portugal, very little is recorded that does not in some way connect itself with Spain. So we find that Antonio and Francesco de Holanda, seemingly of Netherlandish origin, are mentioned in relation to the books illuminated for the Royal Monastery of Thomar; Francesco also worked for the monastery of Belem. Francesco de Holanda was a great admirer and imitator of Clovio, but he always insisted that his father Antonio was the inventor of the method of "stippling," as the finishing with minute points of colour is technically called, which was brought to such perfection by Clovio and his scholars and imitators.

Taken altogether, the work of the Spanish illuminators at the Escorial and those of Toledo and Seville is really the same, with just the variations we might expect from pupils and imitators, as that of their masters in Genoa, Rome, Venice, or Bruges. Examples of it may be seen occasionally in diplomas, such as are found in the British Museum and other public libraries, as, _e.g._ Claud. B. x. Lansd. 189, Add. 12214, 18191, 27231, etc.

In 1572, the same year in which Luiz de Camoens published his Lusiades, an accomplished calligrapher, Miguel Barata, published an elaborate treatise on his own art, then in high repute.

In the fourteenth century the Cancioniero of Don Pedro Affonso Ct. de Barcellos affords an example of the calligraphy (for which Spain and Portugal have always been famous) and illumination which is precious for the student. It is still in existence in the Palace of Ajuda. Its date is 1320-40. And there are MSS. in the Torre do Tombo of Lisbon that are richly illuminated. Again, in Seville there is the "Juego de las Tablas," executed under Alphonso the Wise in 1283, with its Gothic arcades and ornaments. M. Joaquin de Vasconcellas has made a study of this MS. The miniatures of the Torre do Tombo of the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries are mostly of the French school.

About 1428 33 was executed a splendid MS. ent.i.tled "Leal Conselheiro,"

which is attributed to a famous miniaturist in his time named Vasco. It is, however, simply a monument of penmanship, as it contains no miniatures. The MS. has been edited by L'Abbe Roquete in 1842. The Portuguese MSS. of the fifteenth century betray a decided Flemish influence, as well they may, for probably the producers of them were Flemings. Constant intercourse with the Court of Burgundy had something to do with this.

The "Chronica do descobrimento e conquista de Guine," now at Torre do Tombo, is clearly a Flemish work. It was begun about 1440, and finished in 1453. The portrait of the Enfante Don Henrique, called the Navigator, is set in a border evidently by a pupil or imitator of J. Van Eyck. The calligraphy of the MS. is most beautiful. This influence of the Netherlands on Portuguese art is, indeed, confirmed by the political diplomatic relations of the fifteenth century, and is of some importance in the history of art. We shall refer again to this matter when dealing with another MS.

Among all the calligraphic monuments of Portugal it is claimed that the most splendid is the "Bible of the Hieronymites." (See _Revista universal Lisbonense_, 1848, pp. 24-8.) This work, it is said, was a present from the Court of Rome to Emanuel, successor of John II., in remembrance of the homage made to the Holy See, of the first gold brought from the Indies, but the story is very doubtful. The King, in bequeathing the seven volumes to the convent of Belem, says nothing about such an origin. They are manifestly in great part the work of foreign artists. One well-known miniaturist, Antonio de Holanda, the father of the better-known Francesco, took part in the work, and having a good conceit of his own abilities (we shall probably hear of him again), reserved an entire volume to himself in order to give proof of them. The seven volumes which then were covered with crimson velvet and silver bosses and enamels, are now simply bound in red morocco. In the middle of each cover are the arms of Emanuel King of Portugal. Vols. v.

and vii. have those of Dona Isabel, his Spanish wife.

The initials and ornaments show that the art of Italy is freely mixed with that of Portugal. Indeed, from the signatures in the volumes it is seen that the work of the penman was Italian; vol. i. being written at Ferrara by Sigismundo de Sigismundis, the well-known Italian calligrapher, in 1495. The second volume, also finished in 1495, bears the name of Alessandro Verazzano, another famous copyist, who wrote several of the volumes illuminated by Attavante. Vol. iii. is dated 1496, and is unsigned. The next three volumes are also without signature. Vol. vii. is the work of Antonio de Holanda, who from his name appears to have been of Dutch descent. His work is certainly excellent, and renders this volume a very precious monument of the art of Portugal. He was the official herald of the King, and he and his son Francesco gave their whole time to the practice of illumination. His son's Memoirs give a most interesting account of his travels and intercourse with Giulio Clovio and the other Italian artists whom he met with in Rome.[65] For some years the Hieronymite Bible was in Paris, having been brought thither by Marshal Junot, where it remained unnoticed for several years. Being called for by the Portuguese Government, Louis XVIII. paid 50,000 francs to the family of Junot, and restored it to the monastery of Belem. A splendidly illuminated atlas by an illuminator and cartographer named Fernando Vas Dourado was published in the year of his death, 1571.

[65] See my Life of Clovio.

As an important example of what we may fairly call native art, we will now briefly refer to the celebrated Missal of Estevam Goncalvez Neto, one of the productions of the busy second half of the sixteenth century.

The clever amateur who achieved this beautiful series of paintings, for paintings they are, in addition to the writing and other ornamentation of the MS., was descended from a n.o.ble family of Serem, in the parish of Macinhata, forty-three leagues from Lisbon. He became Canon of Viseu, and during his leisure, after this appointment, executed the Pontifical Missal which bears his name. It is dedicated to Don Jose Manuel, of the House of Tancos, Bishop of Viseu, afterwards of Coimbra, and lastly Archbishop of Lisbon. This prelate gave the book to the Church of Viseu.

The original MS. was afterwards in the library of the Convent of Jesus, and is now in the Academy of Sciences at Lisbon. Stephen Gonsalvez died July 29th, 1627. The Missal is signed: "Steph. Glz. Abbas Sereicencis fac. 1610." It has been very well reproduced in colours by Macia, of Paris.

The "Genealogies of the House of Sandoval," written and painted in Lisbon in 1612, is now in Paris. It is called "Genealogia universal de la n.o.bilissima casa de Sandoval Ramo del Generoso tronco de los soberanos Reyes de Castilla y Leon. Por Don Melchior de Teves del Conseio Real de Castilla del Rey D? Philippe III."

At the foot of the page is written "Eduardus Caldiera Vlisspone scripsit, Anno Dni MDCXII." This magnificent MS., which measures forty-six by thirty centimetres, is numbered in the Catalogue of the National Library as 10015. A grand frontispiece, formed of two columns of the Composite Order, occupies the first page, representing a king in royal robes and crown arresting the wheel of Fortune. Two lions accompany the scene, and the motto of the picture is "Virtute duce non comite Fortuna." Page 2 contains the various escutcheons of the family of the Count of Lerma, for whom the book was written. It contains a great number of portraits. A final instance of the influence, or rather the inroad, of Flemish art in Portugal in the fifteenth century may be shown in the MS. called the Portuguese Genealogies in the British Museum.

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Illuminated Manuscripts Part 13 summary

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