A magnificent exemplar of religious illumination from the Late Middle Ages, the Livro de Horas de la Condessa de Bertiandos is an atypically decorated Book of Hours produced in Portugal from 1515 to 1530. Its 2066 illuminations were crafted by the renowned painter António de Holanda. Along with religious scenes, the codex contains a wealth of details referring to 16th-century nature and everyday life.
The two-column Latin text in Gothic Rotunda is enriched by a myriad of objects, plants, and animals painted with incredible chromatic richness: flowers, fruits, insects, fish, dogs, wild boar, rabbits, elephants, unicorns, rhinoceros, deer, trumpets, boats, navigational instruments – which were highly important for Portuguese economy – religious objects, musical instruments, and hybrid creatures (half-animal, half-human). One folio even shows the reflection of a parrot in a lake, and another contains hooded falcons, hinting to a beloved activity among nobles and kings: falconry.
Such wealth of detail, influenced by Flemish painting, provides important information on the traditions of 16th-century Europe as well as on extinct animals. The religious iconography features images of the Holy Shroud, the dove of the Holy Spirit, a medallion containing the Crucifixion, the hands of God, the biblical episode of Saint George fighting the dragon, and angels.
The manuscript, cataloged as Serie Azul 1813, cofre 34, is currently stored in the Lisbon Science Academy.
We have 1 facsimile edition of the manuscript "Livro de Horas de la Condessa de Bertiandos": Libro de Horas de la Condesa de Bertiandos facsimile edition, published by Xuntanza Editorial, 2004Request Info / Price