The Breviary of Martin of Aragon, also known as the Breviario secundum ordinem cisterciensem, is the most exquisite manuscript commissioned by the Aragon family in international Gothic style. Crafted in Spain in two periods, 1398-1410 and 1420-1430, it contains ninety-three large, colorful illustrations and magnificent frames crafted by at least four artists. The monumentally sized manuscript was commissioned by Martin I of Aragon (1356-1409), whose devotion to art and intense religiousness led him to support the creation of important works.
The breviary, a prayer book to be used by the clergy during mass, is enriched by half-page miniatures, small miniatures, full-page miniatures and a large number of historiated initials. The Latin text is further adorned with magnificent tendril decorations. The Breviary's artists include Leonardo Crespi, as well as two unidentified illuminators who represented Valencian and Catalan artistic styles respectively.
The manuscript aimed to explain the relation between the New and Old Testaments, and to underline the Aragon family's deep religiousness. The illustration of the Epiphany (fol. 145 r.) shows Caspar and Balthasar wearing clothing and accessories used by the Aragon family – the Annunciation on fol. 326r. highlights Martin I's commitment to the devotio moderna movement.
- Images courtesy of the Bibliothèque Nationale de France