New York, The Morgan Library & Museum, MS M.944

Prayer Book of Michelino da Besozzo Facsimile Edition

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The Prayer Book of Michelino da Besozzo was created in Milan around 1430 and includes 47 prayers arranged according to the Temporal and Sanctoral cycles of the church year. Its 95 vellum leaves feature text in dark brown ink, copied in Latin by a single scribe and arranged in a single column with 15 lines per page. The decorative elements are particularly striking, with 22 full-page miniatures adorned with floral borders, one historiated initial, 47 text pages with borders, and 46 illuminated initials. Notably, at least half of the original miniatures and parts of the texts are missing. The artist behind this masterpiece is Michelino (de' Molinari) da Besozzo, who was regarded by his contemporaries as the "supreme painter" and "most excellent of all the painters in the world." This prayer book, which holds most of his surviving work, is considered his magnum opus.

The codex includes one of the earliest Western depictions of St. Luke the Evangelist completing a small panel of the Virgin and Child, a subject that gained popularity later in the century due to St. Luke being the patron saint of painters and painters' guilds. The manuscript was initially purchased by H.P. Kraus from a private collector in Milan in 1949. It was then sold to Martin Bodmer before being repurchased by H.P. Kraus around 1968. Since 1970, the codex is treasured in the Morgan Library & Museum.

We have 1 facsimile edition of the manuscript "Prayer Book of Michelino da Besozzo": The Prayer book of Michelino da Besozzo facsimile edition, published by G. Braziller, 1981

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The Prayer book of Michelino da Besozzo

New York: G. Braziller, 1981

  • Commentary (English) by Eisler, Colin T.; Corbett, Patricia
  • Full-size color reproduction of the entire original document, Prayer Book of Michelino da Besozzo: the facsimile attempts to replicate the look-and-feel and physical features of the original document; pages are trimmed according to the original format; the binding might not be consistent with the current document binding.

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