Between 1516 and 1519 the king of Spain Charles V received this Prayer Book, a book that he used with great zeal considering the fact that the parchment is considerably worn. The Prayer Book of Emperor Charles V is decorated with 76 illuminations and it is further embellished with colorful initials and frames throughout the codex.
The master responsible of the illuminations embellished the book with an elegant decoration, avoiding the excess of ornament. The result is a precious book but also an object of personal devotion that the young king could use without being distracted by the abundance of decoration.
The Older Prayer Book of Emperor Charles V and Its Decorative Apparatus
With elongated pages, the manuscript stands out in the production of books of hours as an exemplar of the later generations of the tradition of this kind of devotional codices. The Prayer Book is representative of the final expressions of a great tradition.
The miniatures are the work of an anonymous illuminator. A delicate palette characterizes the miniatures. The landscapes in the background create a sense of infinite depth by means of soft and light colors. The artist was particularly able to represent fashion details, especially when he painted women’s cloths.
The Older Prayer Book of Charles V displays original and creative framing. The layout of the pages is the result of an accurate work on several decorative elements including frames, initials and colored ornamental bands. A close collaboration of the illuminator and the scribe might have created this well concerted decorative work.
An Elegant Prayer Book for the Education of the Young Charles V
Written in Latin and French, the book could be understood by the well-educated king. The remarkable value of this manuscript of prayers is demonstrated by the use of fine and well prepared parchment.
A portrait of King Charles V appears on fol. 213v, followed on the next page by a miniature of his guardian angel (fol. 214r). This codex served as a book of moral edification for the young king who over and over again turned its pages and recited the prayers contained in the manuscript.
We have 1 facsimile edition of the manuscript "Older Prayerbook of Emperor Charles V": Das ältere Gebetbuch Kaiser Karls V facsimile edition, published by Akademische Druck- u. Verlagsanstalt (ADEVA), 1973