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Strossmayerov časoslov - komentar

Pasini Tržec, Iva
Strossmayerov časoslov - komentar, Zagreb: Hrvatska akademija znanosti i umjetnosti ; Školska knjiga, 2011 (monografija)

Strossmayerov časoslov - komentar
(Strossmayer Book of Hours - commentary)

Pasini Tržec, Iva

Vrsta, podvrsta i kategorija knjige
Autorske knjige, monografija, znanstvena

Hrvatska akademija znanosti i umjetnosti ; Školska knjiga





Ključne riječi
Strossmayerov časoslov; biskup Josip Juraj Strossmayer; Strossmayerova galerija starih majstora Hrvatske akademije znanosti i umjetnosti; časoslov; sitnoslikarstvo petnaestoga stoljeća u Parizu; Majstor Jacquesa de Besançona; Majstor Karla VIII.; Henri d'Orléans
(Strossmayer Book of Hours; bishop Josip Juraj Strossmayer; Strossmayer Gallery of Old Masters of the Croatian Academy of Science and Arts; Book of Hours; XVth century Paris illumination; Master of Jacques de Besançon; Master of Charles VIII; Henri d'Orléans)

The Strossmayer Hours is a rare and – within the framework of the Croatian art heritage – an exceptionally valuable and a well preserved work of the 15th-century book illumination. Thanks to several of its features (time and place of origin, stylistic characteristics), the Strossmayer Hours may be described as unique in the Croatian illumination tradition. Since becoming a part of the collection of the Strossmayer Gallery of Old Masters of the Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts, as a gift of Bishop Josip Juraj Strossmayer (1815–1905) on the festive occasion of the opening of the Gallery on 9 November 1884, it has, until the present date, remained almost entirely unknown to the domestic and completely unknown to the international professional public. Except for several minor reviews, it has not been adequately scientifically researched ; the fundamental issues of the history-of-art nature – a more precise analysis, attribution, datation, provenance and valorisation (along with many other unknown data) – remained therefore open. The Strossmayer Hours contains 209 leaves organised in twenty-eight gatherings. It is bound in red leather, with a golden ornament of a later date ; the dimensions of the covers are 200 x 135 x 40 millimetres, and of the leaves 191 x 130 millimetres. The text and the illuminations of the Strossmayer Hours fill 197 gilt-edged leaves, whilst the first six and the last six leaves are blank. It follows the Parisian structure of books of hours, i.e. the sequence is as follows: the Calendar (f. 1r–f. 12v) ; the Gospel Lessons (f. 14r–f. 21r) ; the Prayers to the Virgin: Obsecro te and O intemerata (f. 22r–f. 29v) ; the Hours of the Virgin (f. 30r–f. 105v) ; the Penitential Psalms and the Litany (f. 106r–f. 124v) ; the Hours of the Cross (f. 126r–f. 133r) and the Hours of the Holy Spirit (f. 134r–f. 139r) ; the Office of the Dead (f. 140r–f. 185r) ; the Suffrages (f. 186r–f. 197v). Except for the blank leaves and the Calendar, which is bound in a separate gathering of twelve leaves, the whole manuscript has been collated per eight leaves / four bifolios. Gatherings are indicated by reclames (Fr. réclame), the role of which was to ensure the proper sequence in binding. The caesura between the two main sections or illuminated hours inside the same gathering is marked by either a blank page or a blank leaf, which are an indication to the fact that there had been systematic endeavours for the manuscript to be organised in a legible and a logical fashion ; the result thereof is that each of the main chapters of the Strossmayer Hours begins at the recto side, i.e. on the right-hand side, and is additionally marked by a blank page on the left-hand side. Such structuring must have been “arranged” subsequently: most probably after the pages had been ruled, yet certainly before the text and illuminations had been written. This becomes evident since on all the leaves of the manuscript (except in the Calendar), on both sides, pages are divided in an identical manner by lines, which are not visible only on the blank pages, but may also be barely discernible (underneath) on the pages with miniatures and borders. This wish for certain chapters of the Strossmayer Hours to be marked and separated in a well laid out sequence finds its confirmation in the completely blank leaf that follows the Calendar, which was subsequently added, since it remains out of the bound gatherings. The text block (except in the Calendar) measures approximately 90 x 60 millimetres ; it varies insignificantly and is defined by two horizontal and two vertical lines that extend to the page bottom. The text was written in sixteen lines within one column. According to the usual practice, the ruling of the Calendar is different – it is composed of eight vertical and eighteen horizontal lines. The text of the Strossmayer Hours has been hand-written in high Gothic minuscule of the ceremonial Pre-Renaissance type. Brown-black ink has in some places been lit up to light brown, whilst otherwise, it is dark, almost black. The differences in ink colour (not only in the impregnation) might be an implication to more than one scribe. The elements of the text that usually help determining the origin of the manuscript speak little of the manuscript’s provenance, as the Hours of the Virgin and the Office of the Dead were written following the use of Rome (Lat. Ad Usum Romanum), while the Litany includes the standard list of saints. The Prayers to the Virgin dominantly use masculine word forms (Et michi fa / mulo tuo impetres, “And obtain for me, thy servant”), leaving thereby the question as to the gender of the owner open (male?). More helpful is the composite Calendar, in which red and blue ink for saints’ days, of which the most important ones were distinguished in gold, are interchanged. The list of saints matches the Parisian group of calendars, published by Paul Perdrizet ; the key difference however lies in one change: the main Parisian feast – 3rd January, dedicated to the city patroness St. Genevieve, has been omitted, and instead, the universal feast – the Octave of St. John the Evangelist – is celebrated. St. Anne is celebrated on her official feast day, 26 July, instead of on the Parisian date, 28 July. The Calendar of the Strossmayer Hours derives thus from the Parisian model, yet by omitting the characteristic Parisian feast days, it excludes Paris as the potential locus of use. On the other hand, emphasising the feast day of St. Eutropius (Fr. Eutrope) on 30 April in gold, though it was celebrated in Paris as well (though not written in gold), indicates the particular importance of this saint and his city of Saintes in the life of the patron of the Strossmayer Hours, and suggests Saintes as the potential locus of use. The Strossmayer Hours contains – contrary to the expectations based on the decoration – the illustration of only one coat of arms, in heraldic terminology: d'az au chevron d'or, accomp. de 3 croissants du mesme, painted on the chest and the left sleeve of a man holding a bell in his hand, in the miniature entitled the Announcement of Death, accompanying the central scene of the Last Communion (f. 140r). The Office of the Dead is the only section of the Strossmayer Hours in which the text of prayers and devotions is not focused on the supplicant, but on the deceased, while the accompanying miniatures refer to persons who commissioned the book, especially if they illustrate realistic funeral scenes. Besides reflecting the ideal model of the Christian death, they also serve as an eschatological reminder, visualising the way to “die well” (Lat. ars bene moriendi). The dual intent – the prayer of the living not only for the dead, but also for their own blessed death – complicates the interpretation of the heraldic insignia shown in the Office of the Dead, since they can belong either to the deceased person, his or her family, or to the person who commissioned the book. A further specific feature of the coat of arms in the Strossmayer Hours is its position on the tunic worn by the herald of death. The custom was for the representatives of confraternities to announce the death of their prominent members (Fr. confrère) by bell tolling in the streets. Here the usual illustration of a confraternity’s patron saint is replaced by the coat of arms. Many families from different parts of France had the same family crest, as referred to in the grand French heraldic catalogue, Grand Armorial de France (1934–1949) ; beside the written sources, miniatures too indicate its general diffusion: e.g. the coat of arms (with violet shield) in the miniature the Burial Scene (Paris, BM, MS. 955, f. 12v) ; the coat of arms (with silver chevron) in the miniature Holy Bishop and the Patron (Paris, BM, MS. 410, f. 306v). Neither of the mentioned comparable coats of arms had been solved in the French heraldic literature ; equally, the identity of the one in the Strossmayer Hours (which may only with a high level of precaution be interpreted as a particular family’s crest) remains an open issue. Though the Strossmayer Hours contains no heraldic insignia that might be an obvious sign of who the patron was, there are indications as to his presence in the evolvement of the manuscript. The list of saints in the Calendar, altered in comparison with the Parisian calendars, narrows – as already mentioned – the circle around the place of the origin of the manuscript (Paris), and, even more accurately, to the precise locus of its use (Saintes?), enabling thereby the localisation of the patron. Moreover, indications as to the patron – a wealthy one, most probably – may be found in the rather large number of illuminated feasts in the Calendar ; the number of illuminations in the prayer book section ; the abundance of gold used ; and the careful choice and order of illuminated pages introducing the main sections and hours of the Strossmayer Hours. All the above-mentioned features define the manuscript not as a standardised work prepared for the market, but rather as a work ordered by an upper-class representative for private use. The history of the manuscript, from its occurrence in Paris to its entering the famous collection of the bibliophile and art lover Henri d'Orléans (1822–1897), Duke of Aumale and the fifth son of the French king Louis-Philippe, remains unknown (his monogram HO with three fleurs-de-lis, a crown and a label is shown on the first and the last illuminated page of the book). Due to being heirless, the Duke bequeathed his collection of illuminated manuscripts and paintings and his Chantilly property to the French Institute on 3rd June 1884. Bishop Strossmayer had already owned the Strossmayer Hours as early as at that time, or, more accurately, since 1877, as confirmed by archival research. The concrete date of the purchase (24 April 1877) and the amount paid (1, 800 liras) were mentioned by canon Nikola Voršak (1836–1880), the Bishop’s faithful correspondent from Rome and one of the most important mediators for the acquisition of the works of art for the Bishop’s collection. Bishop Strossmayer had however decided to donate the Strossmayer Hours to the Gallery at its festive opening. On that occasion, in his inaugural speech, he mentioned all the most distinguished works of art and art schools, particularly pointing out the Strossmayer Hours by showing it to the guests and naming it “the pearl in the collection”. The metaphor used by Bishop Strossmayer is a vivid description of the luxury emitting from the Strossmayer Hours. Besides the abundance of gold used, every page of the manuscript was decorated. Illuminated pages (as ”bookmarks”), always at the recto side of the leaf, precede the main sections (except the Calendar and the Suffrages) ; the text itself continues at the verso side. The compositional structure, i.e. the page organisation, is repeated: a larger framed miniature (arched rectangle, 92 millimetres high and 60 millimetres wide) is flanked by a decorative border, the lower and right margins of which interchange with narrative-historiated rectangular borders (cca 39 x 29 millimetres) ; the lower left miniature is of almost square dimensions (cca 39 x 35 millimetres). Historiated initials (Lat. littera historiata) are placed in their own frame of identical width, followed by the first three lines of the text. The central scenes use the standard set of themes for a book of hours, and they are closely related to the text that follows, announcing, completing and explaining it in order to facilitate the reading. Four smaller miniatures continue the narrative of the central scene, but – due to differences in the chronological order – they do not always appear in the same order. The first and the last section of the Book of Hours – the Calendar and the Suffrages – show a different organisational structure of the illuminated pages. The illuminated pages of the Calendar make a homogenous compositional whole. The text block (cca 92 x 63 millimetres) was framed at the inner part of the leaf by a reverse-L-shaped decorative border. The outer margin was formed by three vertically positioned rectangles picturing the feasts (cca 40 x 23 millimetres), while the lower margin was closed by a horizontally positioned rectangular imagery of labours of the months on the recto page and of zodiac signs on the verso page (cca 60 x 33 millimetres). The illustrations of the saints in the Suffrages were incorporated in the text, always along the left margin, but at a different height, and borders on the three outer sides outlined the text. The saints were placed either in nearly a square with an illusionistic “wooden” frame on three sides (cca 40 x 42 millimetres) or in a vertical rectangular frame with an arched top (cca 59 x 41 millimetres). Illuminated pages with text flanked on the outer margin by a decorative border (cca 92 x 26 millimetres) are the final variation. A comprehensive analysis of illuminations as individual works of art, with an indication of stylistic and iconographic parallels and models, revealed strong links to the traditions of two Parisian schools of illumination. The central artistic figures of those schools had to be given names of convenience. While the Master of Jacques de Besançon (Fr. Maître de Jacques de Besançon) was as early as at the end of the 19th century acknowledged as a separate artistic personality, and the first research of his opus is dated then, it was only at the beginning of the 21st century that the Master of Charles the Eight (Ger. Meister Karls VIII) was included into the Parisian illumination milieu of the late 15th century. The miniatures in the Calendar may be described as being similar – to a certain extent – to the manner in which the Master of Charles the Eight had worked. They are characterised by non-uniform proportions of figures that vary in relation to their thematic importance (hierarchical perspective), and sometimes also in relation to the space available. Thus, the unity of proportions had been considered neither within a single page nor within the Calendar as a whole ; moreover, not even within a single frame. It is only the frame that ties a page into a unity as regards its visual aspect. With their size, the figures almost press out the space around them and relate actively to the frame. These are half-length figures ; the upper margin of the miniature often cuts a part of their head, or rather the headdress and the halo. In miniatures showing two saints (or figural groups), the margins of the frame cut into the figures and the motives even stronger. The fragmentarity of the chosen frame – as a procedure – links all the miniatures. In book illumination, portraying half-length figures in close-up in narrative scenes was introduced by Simon Marmion (cca 1425–1489), French painter and illuminator, most probably under the influence of a younger panel painter Hugo van der Goes (cca 1440–1482). This innovative solution (in book illumination) had further directly influenced the Flemish and the French illuminators, first and foremost Jean Bourdichon (cca 1457–1521), who integrated Jean Fouquet’s (cca 1425–cca 1478) earlier solution, showing the figures in front of an illusionistic frame with figures in close-up, and thereby combined the French and the Flemish inventions into a formula to become broadly accepted in the French book illumination. Miniatures in the Calendar are further characterised by common typological solutions of narrow range: two ages for males and two ages for females, whereby the illuminator most often portrays old, grey-haired and grey-bearded male figures. A sharp contour borders the austere facial features (oval in female figures, square in male figures). Men are of darker complexion, whilst female figures are of lighter ; figures of both sexes are characterised by round and half-closed eyes, gentle arched eyebrows and narrow noses. The eyebrow bows in males are often wave-like ; in this manner, the illuminator endeavours to achieve their expressiveness and emotional reaction. The faces of the figures bear no distinctive features of the model ; they are most often shown in a half-profile, either left or right. It was on one occasion only that the illuminator had used the typical Italian Renaissance portrait impostation: in the full-profile of Simon, in the miniature St. Simon and St. Judas accompanying the month of October (f. 10v). The figure physiognomies are plump and round: the monolithic mass of clothes covering their bodies emphasises such impression even stronger. The illuminator draws the hair and the clothing drapery in a more marked manner, and frames entire figures by a line. Male and female saints are positioned in either an interior or a landscape ; this varies depending on the decorative principle defining the page design. The impression of the architectural interior was achieved by a simply outlined greyish wall, which is often articulated by adding architectural elements (pilasters and architraves), and at times opened into a spatial niche. The landscapes are pictured by a set of coloured areas, mostly brown-green and blue ; sometimes, the illumination brings a suggestion of an illuminated town in the distance. The landscape is to a certain extent more important in the miniatures with the iconography of labours of the months and zodiac signs, since there is more space left for the landscape there ; however, the space in these miniatures was built in the same fashion as already described. Azure hills with only suggested fortifications are the most common way of presenting the landscape background, describing the distance by applying a simple solution (motives diminishing in the depth), whilst the horizon in the horizontally positioned miniatures is placed relatively low. In describing the architectural interior, slopes of various directions (inconsistent shortenings of perspective) were used, whilst in connection with more demanding impostations and gestures, illogicalities and confusion become more evident. Narrative scenes are simple as regards the details and general as regards the choice of impostation, so that the narrative description is limited to the basic plot or event identification. The drawings are rough, particularly the drawings of animals. The infrared photo of the Aquarius shows that there are no indications as to any changes or corrections having been made in the drawing or the painted parts (It. pentimenti, penitence) ; this is a clear sign not only of the authorship of a trained and technically skilled illuminator, but – most probably – also of the author having used and followed models. A similar manner of figure portrayal in the Calendar of the Strossmayer Hours may be found in the Calendar of the Book of Hours for Charles the Eight (private collection), which had – through the mediation of the bookseller and publisher Antoine Vérard (active 1485–1512) – been illuminated for King Charles the Eight (1470–1498) in the early 1490s ; this is confirmed by the monogram AVR, the King’s name and the device J'aime tant fort une. Though it had earlier been attributed to the Master of the Grand Royal Book of Hours (Fr. Maître des Grandes Heures Royales) (König, 1989), more recently, it was singled out and recognised as an extraordinary and impressive manuscript in the forming of a new opus and a new artistic personality. In 2004, Ina Nettekoven named the illuminator the Master of Charles the Eight, and recognised the Book of Hours, the page structure of which imitates the early printed exempla of books of hours, not as a prototype, but as a derivative of the Grandes Heures Royales (printed for Anne de Beaujeu on 20 August 1490). Due to similar formation principles, the illuminator was identified as assistant (Fr. associé) in the workshop of the Master of the Apocalypse Rose (Ger. Meister der Apokalypsenrose). The fact that the Master of Charles the Eight had been chosen to illuminate the Royal order may – with a high level of probability – be explained by the role of the bookseller (in this case, Antoine Vérard) and the assumption that the illuminator had been active as an independent master. The typological solutions and the formative principles followed in the Calendar of the Book of Hours for Charles the Eight (Fig. 5) are almost identical to those followed in the Calendar of the Strossmayer Hours. Nevertheless, the aberrations are noticeable in a more concretely defined framing and the manner of picturing landscapes, whereby the miniatures in the Zagreb Calendar seem closer to painting, whilst the ones in the Book of Hours for Charles the Eight are characterised by a stronger linear drawing, which is primarily visible in framing green hills and picturing a town in the background. The miniatures in the Calendar of the Strossmayer Hours might therefore only with a lot of precaution near those in the Calendar of the Book of Hours for Charles the Eight. The compositional and iconographic features and the figure typology of other miniatures in the Strossmayer Hours are the proof of the authorship of the Master of Jacques de Besançon, an outstandingly productive artist, whose school had dominated the Parisian book illumination scene in the last two decades of the 15th century. In the period between cca 1480 and 1498, he had illuminated numerous liturgical, theological and secular works (mostly, however, books of hours and missals) for patrons from a wide social span: he was rather popular with the wealthy aristocracy and bourgeoisie, and was receiving orders also from the French and English Royal circles. He was an associate and the successor of the school of Master François (Maître François, active 1460–1480), from whom he took over the spatial and compositional solutions ; thereby, he followed the main Parisian book illumination line, spreading from Master Boucicaut (active 1390–1430) and Master Bedford (active 1405–1450?) to Master Jean Rolin (1440–1465). The Master of Jacques de Besançon introduced no major stylistic changes to this acknowledged and routine tradition ; certain characteristics however distinguish his style from Master François’s: more elongated figures with softer and smoother features, a palette lighter and richer in gold, and a more static quality of composition. They reveal the strive for monumentalism that had emerged probably under the influence of panel painting and as an answer to the increasing popularity of multipliable media in book production, which had forced the illuminator to retain the position of a master with works exclusive enough to enable him to keep his wealthy upper-class clients. A further major segment in the artist’s biography was working for Antoine Vérard, the leading Parisian bookseller and publisher active at the turn of the century, who had applied the mediaeval type of illumination (on parchment) to the modern printing technique, yet continuing to organise the making of illuminated manuscripts, mostly for wealthy patrons. The Master of Jacques de Besançon held on to the traditional illumination technique (his school was evidently established and renowned enough, so that he was not forced to be tested in a new medium) ; he had illuminated the dedication pages for Vérard, which undoubtedly assured him additional orders, as well as richly illuminated manuscripts. The most obvious proof of the illuminator’s “art of getting along” in the times when printed books gradually started replacing hand-written and illuminated books, and at the same time the answer to the challenge posed by the competition, becomes visible in his artistic manner: by repeating well known and very often tested compositional solutions, he managed to create a uniform, easily recognisable, solid and tradition-based work ; such standardisation procedure accelerated his production of a very popular “product” at the time – the book of hours – remaining thereby present and popular in the Parisian market. The Master of Jacques de Besançon differentiates figures by age and gender, yet he groups them by type. The faces of young girls and women are oval, eyes round and half-closed, eyebrows thin, nose narrow, lips tiny, and skin marble-cold. By their beauty and grace, they imitate the typical Parisian physiognomies. The skin colour in the male figures is darker ; the nose is long and the nostrils wide ; the chin is distinctive, providing them with a degree of roughness ; the illuminator varies their age by using different hair and beard colours. Young men and angels have a feminine quality about them, with physiognomies and skin colour similar to women’s. The hands and fingers have been done unskilfully, as soft compact masses outlined by a contour ; thanks however to long and thin proportions, they leave an impression of refinement. The author uses a clear contour to shape the body of a character. This drawing-like style is important for the whole plastic modelling, which he achieves by using lines of different thickness, whereby an effect of tonal values is achieved (“lighter” where thinner, “darker” where thicker). The clothing mostly covers the bodies, yet not entirely repressing the sense of volume, as the rhythm of the drapery (though slightly stylised) to the major part follows and takes part in the shaping of the bodily curves. The illuminator demonstrates certain knowledge of the anatomy of the nude human body (most often in semi-nude) ; the stylisation is present here to a certain extent, but there is no sensuality. The figures are mostly well proportioned, with only occasional clumsiness where more demanding impostations are involved. The clothing varies, demonstrating the typical clothing repertoire of the late 15th century, whilst the members of the clergy wear vestments characteristic for individual hierarchical levels. Changes in fashion in the last two decades of the 15th century are best visible in the clothes that are worn by the representatives of the upper class, soldiers and female saints of noble birth. They are primarily reflected in the change of the shoe form: shoes had become wide and square, contrary to the earlier long and pointed toe shoes. The neckline on women’s clothes had become of a square form, the skirts touch the floor still revealing bodily curves (with the drapery occasionally twisting between the legs), and the waist had been lowered. Men wear trousers similar in form to “leggings” and short tunics, on occasion with the sleeves cut (for practical reasons), and narrow-brimmed hats on their heads. The illuminator paints halos in two manners: either as a golden ring with a distinguished margin or as a golden circle. Characteristic for the space description is an elevated viewpoint that accentuates the already strong and swift convergence of the architectural lines in depth, and an “evasive” sense of perspective. In arranging the interior, the artist continues combining two traditional solutions: the doll's house scheme and the interior by implication ; the advantages thereof had already been combined by Master Boucicaut at the beginning of the 15th century (he had not only influenced his immediate successors, but had also dominated the Parisian school of illumination and even wider, across the whole of North-West Europe). He isolated the frontal aperture of the “opened-up” interior of the doll’s house and thereby transformed it into a “diaphragm”: an archway or doorway, apparently overlapped by the picture frame, which seems to interpose itself between this frame and the picture space, thus cutting out a “field of vision” from the context of reality. Our illuminator used the same procedure ; in order to achieve the illusion of depth, he used the lines of walls, vaults or ceilings, and furniture arranged in space, with edges converging into the depth, having however no knowledge of Alberti’s laws of perspective (he used “two-point” or “horned” perspective, with one edge parallel to the picture plane, instead of with one surface parallel to the picture plane, which was typical for the Gothic masters). His interiors are shallow and rather steep, almost as the space in the works of the Master of Flémalle (active 1420–40), which resembles that of a photograph taken with a wide-angle lens. In the arched endings of the central scenes showing the interior, there is usually a hanging cone in the centre of the arch, and a barrel vault or ceiling behind it. The decoration of the arch is in gold, and its forms and lace-like structure suggest the use of the Gothic lexis. Though this is a simple move into illusionism (illusionistic frame), it may still, in accordance with contemporary examples, be marked as a spatial suggestion of a “window frame”, or interpreted as an “altar frame” of miniatures, which adds to private prayer – while reading a book of hours – a quality of liturgical dignity and the sacredness of the church. In presenting the illusion of landscape depth, the Master of Jacques de Besançon continued using the established northern solutions, the main impulses of which had already been defined by Master Boucicaut. In showing the most distant views, most often faraway hills with fortifications, he lit up the bluish tones. The horizon is placed rather high (in the upper third of the illuminated space), while spatial belts in a sequence and diminishing the landscape motives in harmony with the linear perspective help create the impression of depth. Nevertheless, landscape scenes and the interrelations among motives in it are characterised by a swift and sharp evolvement, not so much by reaching into the depth, but rather by growing into the height, with no convincing explanations relating to the presence of the spatial shift. Landscape motives contribute to this ; though diminishing into the depth, they create unexplainably sharp spatial belts due to the strong asymmetry in height. His characters are out of proportion in relation to the space they occupy, misfitting interiors and landscapes alike ; this primarily refers to smaller miniatures set within narrative-historiated borders. The characters are usually placed at the edge of the illuminated area and are often as high as the frame itself. Multifigural compositions were built one behind the other, or, more precisely, one above the other, with a gentle shift in depth ; the presence of the mass was simplified by sequence and overlapping, mostly of only partly visible heads. The author repeated the impostation and the gestures ; by combining them, he created many diverse compositions and the narrative of the set iconography. The literal repetition of figures (frequent use of the mirror image) was primarily used for the protagonists, the preset typologies and a strictly defined description of the clothing, facilitating thereby the recognition of the iconography. When portraying the non-obligatory characters in the iconographic sense, the illuminator “avoided” being literal by introducing changes not only to the impostation, but also to the clothing and the skin colour. In almost all the scenes, the illuminator used cast shadows (as darkened areas on the floor), though the light had been distributed equally ; hence, its source is untraceable. The Master of Jacques de Besançon solved the majority of iconographic scenes in the fashion that was common in France in the 15th century. They had been defined as early as in the previous century, or, more precisely, around the year 1400, when major iconographic innovations occurred under the influence of the Italian art, revealing in themselves the previous influence of the Byzantine iconography, with the accentuated pathos of the new spirituality and the new sensibility presented by the Pseudo-Bonaventura’s Meditationes Vitae Christi. For instance, the rich Christological cycle of the Strossmayer Hours reflects the iconographic solutions of the earlier Parisian generations and schools that may be understood better thanks to two main literary sources: Meditationes Vitae Christi, which primarily brings narratives from the life of Jesus Christ full of empathy, and the Golden Legend by Jacobus de Voragine, which had principally served as the literary model for rich hagiographic and iconographic details. As a compendium of universal knowledge, the Golden Legend is one of the most popular and widespread works. In the editions ordered by the aristocracy and the upper class, it includes illuminations showing – in a simple manner – saints bearing only a simple differentiating attribute or – in the traditional manner – martyrdom or the death of a martyr. Besides following the set iconographic situations, individual less famous saints and legends demand the development of new formulas as well. Using the text as a source for the narrative became common in creating the necessary new iconographies, particularly in the well organised, leading workshops. The Master of Jacques de Besançon used this manner (repeated characters and linked narration) when illuminating, for instance, the life of St. Cecile and the conversion of her husband Valerian in the Golden Legend (Paris, BnF, MS. fr. 245, f. 179v). The fact that he was not only the author of the illuminations for the first illuminated French translation of the Golden Legend (by Jean de Vignay), but that he literally followed the narrative while illuminating, remains important for the comprehension of the influence of the Golden Legend in the iconographic solutions of the rich cycle of miniatures in the Strossmayer Hours. The analysis of the miniatures in the Strossmayer Hours has revealed compositional and iconographic concordances and the same typology of characters as found in many manuscripts attributed to the Master of Jacques de Besançon. The miniatures in our Book of Hours confirm the repeated use of compositional solutions (both in the arrangement of the interior and in picturing the landscape) ; they may be followed through the illuminator’s entire œuvre. Similar variations or equal figure impostations may easily be recognised in other books of hours, since they treat the same subject. Hence, variations of similar schemes (with no significant aberrations) may be found in all the books of hours, principally achieved by either deduction or addition of individual figures. The largest number of parallels may be found for the Nativity Scene (f. 63r) and the Crucifixion (f. 126r), precisely due to their importance and the frequency of the iconography of these two motives. The composition of the Nativity Scene from the Strossmayer Hours, its spatial arrangement, the cited characters, the positioning and the design of the stable, are also found in the Nativity scenes in the books of hours from the Pierpont Morgan Library in New York (MS. M. 179, f. 71r ; MS. M. 231, f. 69v) and the Columbia University Library (Phoenix Book of Hours, MS. BP.096, f. 69r), from the Bodleian Library in Oxford (MS. Canon. Liturg. 43, f. 211r, Fig. 9 ; MS. Liturg. 41, f. 67v), and the missal from the Parisian Bibliothèque Mazarine (MS. 410, f. 17r) ; a similar positioning of Virgin Mary and Joseph facing each other (within a single frame) and the mirror image of the donkey motive (cf. one front leg tucked under, the other extended ; ears pricked up ; the cutting between the neck and the body ; the drawing of the head) may be found in the Nativity Scene in the missal from the Parisian Bibliothèque Mazarine (MS. 412, f. 17r, Fig. 10). A lot more parallels may be found for the miniature the Crucifixion in the works by the Master of Jacques de Besançon than for other, less “popular”, motives in the iconographic sense. An identical (or very apt for comparison) solution for the Crucified is repeated in seven of his (or attributed to him) other solutions (New York, PML: MS. M. 231, f. 122v, MS. M. 195, f. 110v ; Phoenix Book of Hours, New York, CUL, MS. BP.096, f. 119v ; Oxford, Bodl. Lib.: MS. Canon. Liturg. 43, f. 99r, MS. Liturg. 41, f. 97v ; Paris, BM, MS. 412, f. 157v ; the Golden Legend, Paris, BnF, MS. fr. 244, f. 111r.) ; Virgin Mary is found in four of them (New York, PML: MS. M. 231, f. 122v, MS. M. 195, f. 110v ; Oxford, Bodl. Lib., MS. Liturg. 41., f. 97v ; the Golden Legend, Paris, BnF, MS. fr. 244, f. 111r.). The most significant parallel offers, however, the Crucifixion, which the Master of Jacques de Besançon had made for no book of hours or any other prayer book, but as an illustration for the Golden Legend (Paris, BnF, MS. fr. 244, f. 111r, Fig. 11). In this miniature, beside Jesus and Virgin Mary, the soldiers on the right reappear: unusual figure of Stephaton, in half-profile from the back, and Longinus facing him, who does not only point to the Crucified here, but holds in his right hand a scroll unfolding, saying: vere filius dei erat iste ; these words had – according to Mark 15:39 – been uttered by the centurion (later identified as Longinus): “Truly this man was the Son of God”. The Master of Jacques de Besançon chose to accentuate this sign in the miniature in the Golden Legend, as it was Jacobus de Voragine who identified Longinus as the centurion. The parallel does not only facilitate the iconographic identification of the soldier in the Crucifixion in the Strossmayer Hours ; it is even more a proof of how close the two works are: in the choice of cited impostations, typologies, and solutions of the background (cf. hill on the left-hand side, with the top covered by a bush in both miniatures). The comparison of the page organisation in the Strossmayer Hours, or rather of the choice of narrative-historiated borders – even for “less important” introductory pages, together with other manuscripts attributed to the Master of Jacques de Besançon, pointed to the Book of Hours for Henry the Seventh from the Pierpont Morgan Library (MS. M. 815), which is – thanks to its significant numerical superiority of narrative-historiated borders – comparable with the Zagreb manuscript. This manuscript had been made for King Henry the Seventh of England and – to the greatest part – illuminated by the Master of Jacques de Besançon. Despite several hands, the introductory chapters bear the same structure of the illuminated page, which confirms the page concept had been set in advance, chosen probably according to the existing models and agreed upon by the bookseller and the patron or his mediator. Four narrative-historiated borders are interchangeable with the decorative border, and they frame the main miniature ; with their structure and the choice of iconographic solutions, they completely match the introductory pages of the Strossmayer Hours (Fig. 7). The narrative-historiated borders in the Strossmayer Hours are specific not only because they appear before all the main sections of the Book of Hours (except for the Calendar and the Suffrages), but also because they are consequently placed on the recto pages. The Oxford Hours MS. Canon. Liturg. 43 by the Master of Jacques de Besançon is, to the best of my knowledge, the only example in this illuminator’s opus where a single scheme for the introductory leaves in all the chapters was applied, placing them consequently on the recto page ; however, in place of narrative-historiated borders, architectural frame was used. Though the miniatures by the Master of Jacques de Besançon reveal his deep Parisian traditional roots and an expressed inclination to repeating and varying similar schemata with no distinctive aberrations – in present-day terms, his auto-referentiality, the miniatures in the Strossmayer Hours still contain iconographic curiosities. This primarily refers to the solution used for the page containing miniatures for the Penitential Psalms, which has been described as an original contribution to the opus of the Master of Jacques de Besançon in the sense of the iconographic invention, especially with regard to the historical context through which it may be explained (f. 106r). In respect of the tradition, David remains the protagonist ; according to the conventional scheme, David’s repentance, being the most common presentation, was chosen for the main scene. Added motives were soldier figures, also appearing in the illumination to the right from the main one. Since the former illumination is linked with the latter across the edges, the jubilation of the soldiers and the king may be brought into direct relation with David shown in the main scene. Thus, in addition to the repentance motive, the illuminator introduced another theme – the election of the king and the jubilation of the soldiers ; due to the characteristic comic-strip solution chosen for the illuminated page, this may be apprehended as the chronological continuance of the previous theme: the meeting of David and Saul near Engedi, when David had spared Saul’s life and Saul learnt that David was to become the King of Israel. King Saul’s purple tunic is decorated with motives that may be interpreted as heraldic: white crescents and a golden horn. The heraldic insignia on the clothes worn by King Saul belong to the category of fabricated coats of arms, which have, since the early 13th century, been given to persons from the Pre-Chivalry. Such fictional coats of arms became particularly popular in the legends of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. The Master of Jacques de Besançon used very similar heraldic colours and elements of the coat of arms on the shield belonging to one of the knights in the miniature entitled the Knights of the Round Table (Lancelot du Lac, Paris, BnF, Rés. Vélins. 614, f. 3r). The illuminator added them to Saul’s clothes most probably in order to harmonise different levels of reality and reconcile temporal differences. David was as soon as in the scene taking place in front of the cave near Engedi presented with heraldic insignia – the crown and the symbol of the divinity of the French kings, fleur-de-lis on the flag, indicating thereby the historical context of that time, or rather the interpretation of the scene as a prefiguration of a contemporary event and the identification of King David with a French king, most probably Charles the Eight, who ruled at the time when the illuminator was active and the manuscript made. This is supported by the manuscripts in Charles’s property, which directly connect him to the king from the Old Testament (the idea of comparing French kings to David dates back to the Carolingian Era): the basis of the work Opus christianissimum seu Davidicum (Paris, BnF, MS. lat. 5971 A) by the Franciscan Johannes Angelus Terzone de Legonissa is the recognition of King Charles the Eight as the New David, whilst a Beatus page in the illuminated Psalter made by the Master of Jacques de Besançon for King Charles the Eight (Paris, BnF, MS. lat. 774, f. 1r) shows King David praying, and Charles the Eight accompanying him in prayer. In the beginning of his reign, Charles the Eight, who succeeded his father Louis the Eleventh at the age of thirteen, was supervised by his older sister Anne de Beaujeu (1461–1522) and her husband Pierre (1438–1503). It was only after his marrying Anne of Brittany in 1491 that Charles officially assumed power and, as an act of emancipation from his sister and her husband, released Louis, Duke of Orléans (1462–1515) (as a potential heir, he endeavoured to participate in making political decisions) and knighted him. This very gesture of “granting pardon” indicates the possible recognition of events related to Charles’s assuming power and becoming independent as the ruler in the scenes from the life of King David and Saul shown in the Strossmayer Hours. Both written and painting-art sources confirm the idea of Charles the Eight being recognised in the described presentations ; the issue of the concrete events remains however unsolved. Characteristic features of the illuminator’s practice were, as already mentioned, the self-citation of characters and motives and their conveyance as ready solutions, constant formulas in similar compositions ; nevertheless, the illuminating art of the Master of Jacques de Besançon demonstrates special artistry, as he had created works of art that emit both elegance and monumentality. Distant lit up landscapes bathe in soft light, and the palette is characterised by the harmony of complementary colours. Light brown and pink tones are interchanged with wide areas of azure and green. The choice and the arrangement of colours reflects the emotional character of the scenes, whilst in colouristic solutions, the decorative principle often prevails (rhythmical exchange of contrasting values). The decorative poetics is present and implemented everywhere – from the linear filling of planes, reflecting the illuminator’s trust in the drawing, to the mediaeval choice of gestures and impostations. The filling of planes, distinctive to such an extent that horror vacui might be recognised in it, becomes for instance visible in covering the azure sky by golden stars, regardless of the time of day (they possess an additional iconographic motivation). There are golden threads in the drapery and the hair of the figures, and in the treetops. Apart from the decorative accents, the illuminator demonstrates an inclination to descriptiveness and an eye for details showing the exquisiteness of the drawing (cf. faithfully portrayed string linking the oar with its handle in the illumination St. John in the Boat, f. 14r) and the texture (cf. lace-trimmed pillow in the Coronation of the Virgin Mary, f. 93r), though, when compared to the abundance of details and the realistic treatment of motives and scenes present in the Flemish illuminations (and in some by the French contemporaries), the works by the Master of Jacques de Besançon remain only suggestive in solution and stylised in description. The illuminator’s compositions are well balanced, the scenes well positioned, and there is tranquillity present in the interpretation of all iconographic scenes ; even the martyr saints and Jesus Christ in passion give only hints of pain or suffering (their faces and bodies remain calmly cold, indifferent to the agony awaiting them), despite the detailed description of the instruments of torture and the gestures of the torturers (though they are never shown with a grimace or a grin on their faces, but rather in poses more similar to dancing). Hence, calm timelessness remains the basic quality of the illuminations. In the sense of experiencing and interpreting the tasks, as well as according to the stylistic features, the illuminator’s solutions fit almost entirely the late-Gothic tradition. The same solutions as to the space, the constructions and the typologies of the characters, as well as correspondences in compositions, may also be found in the smaller miniatures within narrative-historiated borders and the Suffrages, as well as the figural presentations of historiated initials. More obvious simplifications, suggestiveness and a more emphasised linearity, visible in the cycle of smaller illuminations, might, on the one hand, point to either one assistant or even to a whole group having, respectfully following the poetics of the principal illuminator – the Master of Jacques de Besançon – illuminated the “less” important sections of the Book of Hours, but on the other hand, they might be partly caused by the size of the miniatures, as the illuminator had had to adjust to their extremely small dimensions. The illuminator’s authorship is thus present and recognisable in all the miniatures in the Strossmayer Hours (except for the Calendar and the borders) ; therefore, though the presence of assistant/s (very faithful to the master’s fashion) in the creation of the miniatures remains possible, the Master of Jacques de Besançon may beyond any doubt be confirmed as the author. The tradition of the two schools of illumination may be easily recognised in the Strossmayer Hours, as it corresponds entirely to the well known Parisian manuscript production procedure, in which the booksellers had played the leading role in the organisation and co-ordination of the business ; due to reduced control over the publishing by the University of Paris, they had during the 15th century managed to establish a more direct relationship with the patrons. They were in charge of all business decisions, from the acquisition of parchment to engaging scribes and illuminators, to whom they had sent the gatherings in order for the text and subsequently the illuminations to be entered. Due to the increased demand during the 15th century, individual workshops specialised in producing particular types of manuscripts, and every illuminator in making a particular type of illuminations. This primarily refers to the borders and the initials, thus to the frequently repeated illuminations, made by either specialised illuminators or assistants in workshops. The borders were developed based on models with ornamental solutions that had been passed on from generation to generation ; their motives and even entire structures point to schematism and repetitiveness. Hence, it is a very ungrateful job (and therefore only partly possible) to try differentiating authors within the borders and attributing the work to individual workshops. The decorative borders in the Strossmayer Hours reveal the work of at least three masters, and three different fashions ; their share in the book is not dividable by gatherings, as they appear interchangeably, depending upon the task to be solved. “Geometrical borders” and “scatter borders” in the work are connected to the solutions used for borders in other manuscripts attributed to the Master of Jacques de Besançon, and they may point to the possibility of the authorship of the same or at least a closely connected workshop. By their structure and the choice of motives, both typological groups correspond to the Parisian borders of the late 15th century. The Strossmayer Hours may be dated after 1491 on the basis of the characteristic features of the illuminations (more elongated figures and larger quantities of gold used, multiplication of lateral scenes – features that had been pointed out by Nicole Reynaud in 1993 as certain changes in the poetics of the Master of Jacques de Besançon). This is supported also by the Calendar structure, with illuminations showing the principal feast days within a rectangular frame, following the model of the earlier printed editions. It is similar to the page design in the Calendar of the Book of Hours for Charles the Eight (Fig. 5), which, like other leaves of the manuscript, imitates in form the printed Grandes Heures Royales. The mediator for both works was Antoine Vérard, bookseller and publisher. The printed Book of Hours is dated 20 August 1490 ; this serves not only as terminus post quem for the datation of the hand-written Book of Hours for Charles the Eight, but is of use for the expansion of the solution itself, and thereby also for the Strossmayer Hours. As a time machine of a kind, the Strossmayer Hours was created in Paris at the end of the 15th century, when the city once again became a solid economic and cultural centre, which resulted in a considerable number of illuminators working there. The market in its greatest part, i.e. including booksellers and illuminators, started applying a new technique in the book production – illustrated printed editions – which emerged in Paris around 1480. The printing technique significantly reduced the book price thanks to the possibility of multiplying the graphic illustrations, so that the printers could offer to the market cheaper editions with a large number of illustrations. Nevertheless, the traditional production of illuminated manuscripts did not cease to exist due to the changed circumstances ; these manuscripts continued to be of interest to a particular section of the public, both the ones containing only several miniatures and the exceptionally richly illuminated ones, such as the Strossmayer Hours. It is characterised by a large number of illuminations and borders, as well as by the abundance of gold used. It was ordered and made in the 1490s, but by the choice of miniatures in its prayer book section, it follows the established iconographic tradition. It differs however from this tradition in the narrative widening: narrative-historiated borders that serve as introduction to all the main sections and hours of the Strossmayer Hours. The number of illuminated feasts in the Calendar is also larger than usually found in “calendar” miniatures, whilst the page organisation in this section points to the influence of the early printed editions. It is mainly in the luxurious works ordered by highly positioned patrons that the structure of printed pages is imitated in hand-written Calendars and books. The number of miniatures and borders on each of the pages of the manuscript demonstrates the high status of the patron of the Strossmayer Hours, as well as his level of education and his inclinations. In the times when printed editions and illuminated manuscripts co-existed, the patron chose the manuscript regardless of a much higher price for such a work, the number of illuminations in which may be compared to the number of illustrations in a printed book of hours. The majority of the illuminations in the Strossmayer Hours was entrusted to the Master of Jacques de Besançon, illuminator who remained faithful to the traditional illumination technique, while the illuminations in the calendar section may be described as being similar to the hand of the Master of Charles the Eight, named after the Royal Book of Hours, which in form imitates the structure of the printed one. Both of them are new names, not only in the collection of the Strossmayer Gallery, but also in the Croatian history of art. The Strossmayer Hours enables parallels and creates links to manuscripts in international collections, which have so far not been considered relevant for the Croatian cultural heritage ; it further keeps an exceptionally important place in the collection of the Strossmayer Gallery, where it has survived as the only exemplum of book illumination. In 1947, it was marked as belonging to the collection of Old Masters, and thereby a part of the permanent holdings ; other manuscripts from the Gallery were handed over to the Archives of the Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts, the copies of the paintings to the Glyptotheque, and the paintings of the 19th and 20th centuries to the Modern Gallery. Though being a hand-written prayer book, the Strossmayer Hours “survived” the reduction of the holdings thanks to its unique artistic value and the overflow of miniatures. It was exhibited alongside the works by Matteo da Milano (active 1492–1523) – the only other miniatures in the collection – as a part of the permanent holdings until 1967 ; this confirms there was awareness of the exceptional value of this illuminated manuscript. The Strossmayer Hours was and remains unique in the collection, as the works by the Italian artist (made for the breviary and the book of hours) had been cut out of the manuscripts and exhibited framed by passe-partouts, and thereby presented as paintings. After eighty-three years, the Strossmayer Hours was withdrawn from the permanent holdings, even before any scientific research on it could have commenced. This was an impetus also for this research: to draw the attention of the professional public once again to “the pearl” in Strossmayer’s collection, as the founder himself had named it. The Strossmayer Hours was published with the aim of drawing the attention of both the Croatian and the international professional public to this work of art, hoping for it to become more present in the minds of the people as a part of the heritage linking not only the Croatian and the French cultures – both territorially and in time, but also the generations of today with all the earlier owners and users of this illuminated manuscript ; and finally, to once again lay emphasis upon the founder of the Gallery – Bishop Josip Juraj Strossmayer – and his most valuable legacy.

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Riječ je o komentaru uz faksimilno izdanje Strossmayerova časoslova


Projekt / tema
101-1012654-2653 - Arhitektura i štafelajno slikarstvo u Hrvatskoj od 16. do 18. stoljeća (Vladimir Marković, )

Hrvatska akademija znanosti i umjetnosti


Avatar Url Iva Pasini Tržec (autor)

Citiraj ovu publikaciju

Pasini Tržec, Iva
Strossmayerov časoslov - komentar, Zagreb: Hrvatska akademija znanosti i umjetnosti ; Školska knjiga, 2011 (monografija)
Pasini Tržec, I. (2011) Strossmayerov časoslov - komentar. Zagreb, Hrvatska akademija znanosti i umjetnosti ; Školska knjiga.
@book{book, author = {Pasini Tr\v{z}ec, I.}, year = {2011}, pages = {462}, keywords = {Strossmayer Book of Hours, bishop Josip Juraj Strossmayer, Strossmayer Gallery of Old Masters of the Croatian Academy of Science and Arts, Book of Hours, XVth century Paris illumination, Master of Jacques de Besan\c{c}on, Master of Charles VIII, Henri d'Orl\'{e}ans}, isbn = {978-953-154-956-1}, title = {Strossmayer Book of Hours - commentary}, keyword = {Strossmayer Book of Hours, bishop Josip Juraj Strossmayer, Strossmayer Gallery of Old Masters of the Croatian Academy of Science and Arts, Book of Hours, XVth century Paris illumination, Master of Jacques de Besan\c{c}on, Master of Charles VIII, Henri d'Orl\'{e}ans}, publisher = {Hrvatska akademija znanosti i umjetnosti ; \v{S}kolska knjiga}, publisherplace = {Zagreb} }