Borgia Missal

Archdiocese of Chieti (Chieti, Italy)

Alternate Titles:

Messale Borgia, Messale de' Medici, De' Medici Missal, Borgia-Missale

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Codiology

Alternate Titles

Messale Borgia
Messale de' Medici
De' Medici Missal
Borgia-Missale

Type
Extent / Format

446 pages / 38.5 x 27.5 cm

Origin
Date
1492-1503
Style
Genre
Language
Patron

Giovanni Borgia

Artist / School

School of Pinturicchio

Former owners

Cardinal Guido de' Medici

Short description

In its provenance, the impressive manuscript of the so-called Borgia Missal brings together some of the biggest names in Italian history ca. 1500: originating as a commission for Giovanni Borgia on the occasion to his appointment as a cardinal in the years 1492-1503, it probably came to Vatican by way of the Borgia Pope Alexander VI and there finally came into the possession of Cardinal Guido de Medici. The grandiose décor of the liturgical manuscript from the Umbrian school presents the masterpiece in truly papal splendor!

Facsimile editions available

Description

Borgia Missal

In its provenance, the impressive manuscript of the so-called Borgia Missal brings together some of the biggest names in Italian history ca. 1500: originating as a commission for Giovanni Borgia on the occasion to his appointment as a cardinal in the years 1492-1503, it probably came to Vatican by way of the Borgia Pope Alexander VI and there finally came into the possession of Cardinal Guido de Medici. The grandiose décor of the liturgical manuscript from the Umbrian school presents the masterpiece in truly papal splendor!

From the Circle of Pinturicchio

Lavish frames and gorgeous miniatures make up the artistic decoration of the wonderful Borgia Missal. The paintings were created in Rome by some of the most significant masters of the late 15th century. These can be ascribed stylistically to the Umbrian school in Rome shortly before 1500. Four miniaturists, probably from the school of Pinturicchio (1454-1513) flaunted their skill here. The lavish décor of the manuscript is truly worthy of a cardinal, or even a pope.

A Missal for the Cardinal

The missal originates from the years 1492-1503 at the behest of Giovanni Borgia (1446-1503). He originally came from Spain, but went to Italy nonetheless and was there named a cardinal and finally Archbishop of Monreale. Coming from the powerful Borgia family, Giovanni was made a cardinal by Rodrigo Borgia, Pope Alexander VI, in 1492 and as such was one of the closest confidants of the Pope. The elevation to cardinal is presumably what occasioned the creation of the splendid manuscript.

In the Possession of the Medici

The manuscript probably belonged to the group of codices that were stored in the Sistine Chapel and were used for masses there. The Borgia Missal is not only significant as a work of art, but also as a liturgical manuscript: it contains one of the first examples of the ceremonial Sunday mass, the ‘missale festivum’.
Today, the Borgia Missal is no longer found in Rome, but rather in Chieti, a city in Abruzzo. The manuscript came into the collection of the cathedral there through Cardinal Guido de Medici, Archbishop of Chieti. Guido de Medici was a cousin of Pope Clement VII, and probably came into possession of the treasured book through this connection.

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