Book of Hours of Barbara of Austria

Book of Hours of Barbara of Austria

Lat. 22 = alfa K. 7. 2

Biblioteca Estense Universitaria, Modena (Italy)

Limited Edition: 300 copies

  • Limited Edition: 300 copies
  • 334 pagine di cui 14 con miniature a piena pagina e 320 riccamente miniate con motivi naturali, vegetali e animali.
  • Tiratura limitata a 299 esemplari.
  • Carta vegetale trattata a mano per il raggiungimento dello stato ottimale di invecchiamento.
  • Legatura e coperta eseguite artigianalmente.
  • Cucitura fatta a mano su corde.
  • Incassatura su carta antica.
  • Taglio con doratura in oro.

This beautiful richly illuminated Libro d’Ore, from the 16th-c. with 17 large format minatures and 328 highly decorated pages was probably executed by a student of the French master Jean Bourdichon.

It has the sigla “A.E.I.O.U” “Austria est imperare orbi universo” the motto of the Austrian House introduced by Federico III and the initials “P.K.” which might stand for Philippus Karolus, the monogram of Filippo the Beautiful of Austria united to that of his son Carlo V.

The MS was part of the endowment of Barbara d’Austria, Archduchess of Austria, daugther of Emperor Ferdinand I (brother of Carlo V) and Anna of Bohemia and Hungary.

There are 2 full-page miniatures with gold frame introducing the Office of the Virgin and Penitentiary Psalms. The
borders show a naturalic vegetation with red and imaginary animals, putti, musical angels and anthropomorphic
figures. This fauna, derived from the repertoire of the late-gothic French illuminatiors, has precise symbolic meanings.
The fantastic and montrous creatures personify the diabolic; butterflies and birds are frequently found, the first one
as a symbol of the soul which raises from a terrestial plane to a celestial one. The crane, like all animals of long neck
and beak, is related to malignant creatures. All the other miniatures are in an arch-formed window with gold borders.

In 1565 she married Alfonso II d’Este, Duke of Ferrara. After
an earthquake in 1570/1571 Barbara d’Austria dedicated her efforts and personal resources to help the orphans of the
“Conservatorio delle orfane di Sto”.
She died of tuberculosis in 1572 at the age of 33.