Synopses & Reviews
The Sforza Hours, one of the finest surviving Renaissance illuminated manuscripts, has a fascinating history. Its lavish decorations were painted in two campaigns, the first around 1490 for Bona of Savoy, widow of Galeazzo Sforza, Duke of Milan. Her miniaturist Giovan Pietro Birago had completed and delivered part of the book when a substantial portion of the remainder was stolen, never to be returned. Thirty years later, in 1517-20, Bona's heir Margaret of Austria, Regent of the Netherlands, commissioned the Flemish painter Gerard Horenbout to execute sixteen additional miniatures to complete Birago's. Thus, what had been begun as a masterpiece of the Milanese late Quattrocento was completed in the vanguard of the Northern Renaissance. Appropriately, it was probably a gift for Margaret's nephew, the emperor Charles V.The manuscript is outstanding for its opulent decorative scheme and the unusual number of text pages with minutely detailed borders, initials and vignettes in deep blues, greens and rich reds, to match the many full-page miniatures.
This book, one of the finest surviving Renaissance illuminated manuscripts, has a fascinating history. Its lavish decorations were painted in two campaigns.