Cornell's Johnson Museum of Art

The Hours of Margaret of Austria. Ca. 1510.

Manuscript on vellum, velvet binding.

From the late Middle Ages, Books of Hours became popular religious text for devout laity, who would recite the particular prayer for the hour of the day and the time of year, accordingly to the ecclesiastical calendar.  Before the advent of moveable type in 1455, all books were written by hand, but Books of Hours were often further enhanced to increase the devotional experience of reading by flourishers, illuminators, and miniaturists.

This manuscript comes from the libraries of Margaret of Austria (1480-1530), daughter of Emperor Maximilian I and Mary of Burgundy and, from 1507, Regent of the Netherlands.  Dated to the Late Gothic period, it showcases the artistry of the Utrecht School through its many miniature paintings and elaborate borders.  Likely the work of a number of masters collaborating in a major shop, a least five distinct hands can be detected among the miniatures.

Cornell's Johnson Museum of Art (Gallery 11)

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