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The Visconti Book of Hours - Essay Example

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In addition, a large number of mistakes used to be included. Saying so, 'The Visconti Book of Hours' does present a startling revelation of form and structure. And its illuminated teachings make raise question on whether such manuscripts, by way of their rich representation can help us understand the important aspects of the reader's response to a text, its contents and whether such manuscripts did help publisher's cater to the concept of a wider market that profited out of the phenomenon of easy acceptability of the masses. If the liturgy used enormous paintings to affect the reader's mind instantly, then the printing press too, tried to imbibe such helpful aspects, but not after much later.
The Visconti Hours is a 14th century book of hours. "A Book of Hours is a compendium of devotional texts that takes its name from its one essential text, the Hours of the Virgin, or more properly the Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary. It is called an 'Hours,' or Horae in Latin, because it is subdivided into eight parts, one for each of the 'hours' of the liturgical day - Matins, Lauds, Prime, Terce, Sext, None, Vespers, and Compline". The manuscript actually divided was into two separate volumes. They were the Biblioteca Nazionale, Florence, under the cataloguing numbers Banco Rari 397 and Landau Finaly 22.

Illuminated by two quite different artists, Giovannino dei Grassi who painted the first folios for Giangaleazzo Visconti, despot of Milan., and after Giangaleazzo's death in 1402 it was resumed by Belbello da Pavia for Giangaleazzo's son, Filippo Maria, after he became Duke in 1412. Book of Hours refers to Giangaleazzo as Count and was supposedly written before his coronation in 1395. His concern for the acceptance of his authority is quite clear from the way he displays his heraldic devices and mottoes abound the prayer book made primarily for private use. In addition, Giangaleazzo himself is represented three times along with the Duke of Berry, who also insisted on being portrayed in his Book of Hours. While Giangaleazzo does not appear in the prayer before the Virgin or a saint, his head alone is depicted in a medallion unrelated to the religious scenes. Judging from all these one ma conclude that the latent forces of secularity or a subtle contest between religious and the secular (Divine Right of the king) has come into play, which may be a new idiosyncrasy of the printing age of the Renaissance, when human values were coming to the fore and man was the centre of celebration.

Between 1385 until 1402, Giangaleazzo devoted himself primarily to the expansion of his political power and his chief interest in sports like hunting wild animals, did not escape the autobiographical mention in the Visconti Hours too. Trained birds of pray populate the borders, while his profile is framed with a hunting dog and a stag in Folio 115, thereby bringing David the hunter from the psalm join the king's passion. From helping build a library of illuminated books in Palvia, he shared his love for nature and animals by serving as a patron of such illustrated manuscripts devoted to plants and animals, which did not escape his Visconti Hours too. Here we see a dedicated involvement with religious teaching along with a worldly touch that bespeaks of an era where man ...Show more


The transmission of information became a revolutionary process with the coming of the printing press. However, was it responsible for being successful beyond its sociological factors One must say no. The university and the renaissance humanism did help to make the printing element much more in demand than when it was used by the Christian world before the Reformation period, as a cherished and much labored piece of collecting and re-writing God's words in Latin…
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The Visconti Book of Hours
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