I browsed my way to the Pierpoint Morgan library’s website earlier today, and found my eye drawn to the pages on display there from an illuminated manuscript known as the Da Costa Hours, after the book’s second owner, one Álvaro Da Costa, armourer to King Manuel the Fortunate of Portugal. Details from each of the twelve calendar images in this manuscript follow below.
This Book of Hours, which was produced in Bruges, ca 1515, was one of several illuminated by the Flemish painter Simon Bening (1483/4-1561).
Bening was the last great Flemish illuminator, and he capitalized on the current taste for large Calendar miniatures, taking them to their limit by making them full-page… Bening was known for his naturalistic depictions of figures and landscapes. He was a great observer of detail, including fabrics, the objects and events of daily life, and even weather conditions… [His] fame was widespread in his lifetime, and his creations were much sought after, not only in Belgium, but also in Italy, Germany, and Portugal - source here.
Simon Bening revolutionized the pictorial language used in calendar miniatures. He attached as much importance to calendar decoration as to the detailed programmes of devotional miniatures which usually followed them. Bening […] was the only artist in his century who painted full-page calendar miniatures, and he was the first to treat them as independent depictions which, to his mind, should convey a life-like picture of the environment.
Bening also was the only artist before Pieter Brueghel the Elder to explore landscapes in a systematic way. He painted different landscape types in a stunning topographic diversity and also described the most different weather conditions. His landscapes are lyrical, observed with sensitivity, composed in detail and full of atmosphere. They are Bening’s important contribution to the increasing prestige attributed to Flemish landscape painting - source here.
Click on the details above to see the images enlarged and in full.Posted by misteraitch at March 10, 2004 03:22 PM | TrackBack