The official title of this extraordinary codex, beautifully mined, is Le Livre d’Images de Madame Marie (the Book of Images of Madame Marie), whose original is guarded in the National Library of France with the signatura NAF 16251.
The name change is justified by the editor in the study book of this beautiful facsimile edition. He also received more names throughout history, such as Martirologe des Saints (Martirologio de los Santos), which curiously shows how difficult it has been to “box” him in a concrete theme.
This manuscript is a Book of Images in the broadest sense of the term; Because of the 110 folios that has, 85 are miniatures to all page with a very brief label written below. At first it was believed that it was a Book of Hours because it contains a Calendar (1r – 12v) followed by an index (13r – 17v), the Life of Christ (18r – 54r) which also incorporates three miniatures of the Virgin , And the Martyrdom of the Saints (55v – 104r); But, although it is a book of devotion, the absence of the canonical hours and its liturgical prayers prevent to catalog it in this group.
The book had to remain in some monastery until the Dukes of Burgundy settled in Flanders at the end of Century XIV. It already appears in the inventory following the death of Philip the Bold (1405): “a book that begins with a calendar followed by images of Christ and the Virgin, many saints, and has no text.” He inherited his son John without Fear, in whose inventory (1420) it says: “It is bound in reddish brown silk cloth with two silver brooches, and with the coat of arms embroidered in gold; Hours’ which contains the stories of the saints, which begin after the calendar by St. Anne and St. Joachim, and in the inventory of the library of Philip III the Good (1467) reads: “It is a ‘book of hours’ of parchment With covers of brown cloth and gold; Contains many stories from the second page, and ends with the story of the saints Wartrude and Gertrude. “We know this now thanks to the investigations of François Avril, who carefully studied the inventories to locate the manuscript.However, the reiteration of” Book of Hours “in the inventories has led to errors.
The codex is composed, like the first English Apocalypse of Westminster, in the apogee of the first Gothic; That is, in the second half of the thirteenth century. The stylized figures of the characters, color and ornamentation are decisive. This may be because the artist, or one of them, belonged to that school. However, with the exception of the miniatures depicting Christ in Majesty and the Last Judgment (51v-52r) composed in registers, later details are observed throughout the work; Perhaps from the end of the century. The representation of the characters in the foreground, brings to the viewer the characteristic features of his personality, social status or historical or legendary attributes: a naked man grilling on a grill, or another tied to a tree with the body pierced by arrows, They needed no explanation.
The second part, dedicated to the saints and their martyrdom, reflects the pain of the martyr and the pleasure of the torturer; Presents without realities the realism of blood, broken bones, broken heads and scattered viscera; All well prepared with an orderly staging of the necessary elements. The steady outline of the drawing and the intense colors (blue and red par excellence) enhance the drama by breaking with the pictorial tradition hitherto known in the environment.
This manuscript, therefore, can be considered a “Book of Hours”, as in the Middle Ages, a “Martirologio” “as indicated by its title on the back (MARTIROLO (GE) / DES / SAINTS) , Which is the accepted, because it encompasses the others and is the right one as to its content.
The author is not known with certainty, although the name of a painter named Henry who works by the zone of Hainaut between 1285 and 1295 is speculated the president could be Maria de Rethel (1231-1315); Rich and very devout bibliophile who lived in the same Franco-Flemish region. The index (f 13-17) cites it 9 times as “Madame Marie” and, since no other is known, historians have accepted it as the agent. Therefore, the manuscript is cataloged in the Bibliothèque Nationale as “Livre d’Images de Madame Marie”.
This number of names given to the manuscript over time can create confusion in the reader, but in the study book prepared for facsimile editing, the editor clarifies these differences. For the facsimile edition, the Editorial, while respecting by rights the signature of the proprietor National Library of France, has subtitled it Anglo-Romanian Martirologio of century XIII. Martyrology, because it is one of their names (the one that is stamped in the manuscript); Anglonormando because the paintings have a clear English influence of the surroundings of Westminster, and the Calendar picks up the very small Cistercian saints of the period of transition of the Order; In addition to the text of the index of the miniatures, written in the region’s northern French and epoch. As for the thirteenth century, because the concepts above and the dating of the manuscript so suggests.
Features of this interesting facsimile edition:
Handmade codex in leather on table with gold prints. Format 14,5 x 19,5 cm. 224 pages containing 88 full page thumbnails.
Date: 1285-90 (13th century). North of France.
2010 edition, limited to 480 venal specimens, numbered and notarized.
Complementary study book bound in hardcover with illustrated cover, format 22 x 31 cm. 272 pages containing the reproduction of all illuminated pages of the codex, codecological study and miniatures. Texts in Spanish.
Both books are presented in a box-covered microfibre beige, with titles and gold clasps. Format 28.5 x 37 x 8 cm.
Exemplary in perfect condition.
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