The Books of Hours were Christian devotional books, very popular in the Middle Ages. They are the most common type of surviving illuminated manuscripts. They are all different and unique, but all of them contain a similar collection of texts, prayers and psalms. They were made for wealthy patrons and, as such, they are extremely lavish, often with full pages miniatures. Most remarcable in the decoration of the book are the very ornate capital letters at the start of psalms and other prayers.
The Piarist Order was founded by Saint Joseph Calasanz in the 17th century, and is committed to the education of children and youth, expecially those of belonging to poor families.
A Masterpiece of international Gothic
The Book of Hours of the Piarists is probably the most beautiful exemplary of international Gothic, among those that can be found in Spain.
It was originally preserved in the library of Colegio de las Escuelas Pìas de Zaragoza and consists of 400 pages of fine parchment, each one with a precious golden border.
The incredibly executed miniatures are considered to be a veritable masterpiece and the gothic writing is full of decorated capital letters.
We have 1 facsimile edition of the manuscript "Book of Hours of the Piarists (Escolapios)": Libro de Horas de los Escolapios facsimile edition, published by Siloé, arte y bibliofilia, 2007