In Renaissance Italy, the family dynasties governing the various city-states cultivated a tradition of literary and artistic patronage. The members of the Medici family, including Cosimo the Elder, his son Piero, and his grandson Lorenzo the Magnificent were the most distinguished patrons of the arts in Florence.
The return to power of the family after the Republican period (1498-1512) led to the rebirth of the artistic and intellectual movement begun in the previous century. This manuscript is representative of the art promoted by the Medici because it shows the quality of the books that belonged to the Medici.
A Wedding Gift from the Pope
Kept in the Library of the Lázaro Galdiano Foundation in Madrid, this devotional book is considered a gift from Pope Leo X to celebrate the wedding of Lorenzo II de' Medici and Madeleine de la Tour d'Auvergne.
The manuscript contains the Latin prayers and texts to be recited during the hours. Measuring only 6 x 4 cm, the manuscript is a small object that suggests intimate relationship between the reader and the book. The manuscript is decorated with full-page miniatures and ornamental margins.
The pictorial style of the Hours of Lorenzo the Younger and Madeleine de la Tour suggests attributing the miniatures to Boccardino the Elder, Stefano di Tommaso and Boccardino the Younger.
Emblems, Pictures, and Enigmatic Inscriptions
The Book of Hours prominently features the emblems of the Medici family. Throughout the pages of the book, there are diamonds with the word "Semper" inscribed on it. The emblem signifies the strength and long life of the royal family. Another image linked to the Medici consists in three or more interlocking rings and feathers referring each to the virtues of faith, hope and charity.
The glory and power of the Medici is also represented in the emblem showing a laurel branch and a circle with the letters glovis, which is an acrostic for the words glory, laud, honor, victory, justice and sapience.