Hours of Christoph I, Margrave of Baden

Durlach 1 - Badische Landesbibliothek (Karlsruhe, Germany)

Alternate Titles:

Stundenbuch des Markgrafen Christoph I. von Baden

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Codiology

Alternate Titles

Stundenbuch des Markgrafen Christoph I. von Baden

Type
Extent / Format

216 pages / 14.7 x 10.6 cm

Origin
Date
1488
Style
Genre
Language
Former owners

Christoph I (1453 - 1527), Margrave of Baden

Short description

The oldest evidence of margravial book ownership that is found today in the Badische Landesbibliothek in Karlsruhe: the precious Hours of Christoph I, Margrave of Baden. Originating in Paris ca. 1488, the manuscript presents itself as a work of art of the highest quality and the most impressive splendor. The typical elements of such a private devotional book were adorned with precious illumination. The important patron is himself immortalized in two marvelous miniatures – outstanding attestations of visual creativity. A true treasure of 15th century French illumination and an exciting credential of Baden’s history!

Facsimile editions available

Description

Hours of Christoph I, Margrave of Baden

The oldest evidence of margravial book ownership that is found today in the Badische Landesbibliothek in Karlsruhe: the precious Hours of Christoph I, Margrave of Baden. Originating in Paris ca. 1488, the manuscript presents itself as a work of art of the highest quality and the most impressive splendor. The typical elements of such a private devotional book were adorned with precious illumination. The important patron is himself immortalized in two marvelous miniatures – outstanding attestations of visual creativity. A true treasure of 15th century French illumination and an exciting credential of Baden’s history!

The Margrave as Benefactor

A gorgeous miniature presents Margrave Christoph I of Baden kneeling in prayer and wearing armor, which he has partly taken off. An artfully draped red curtain makes up the background of the depiction, and was encompassed by thin gold frames**: a gorgeous composition, simultaneously elegant and withdrawn yet extremely present**. A Marian Annunciation is depicted on the opposite side.
In the benefactor’s second image, the Margrave is not depicted as young but rather as a grey old man. In this miniature of St. Christopher, who is carrying the Christ child over the river, and another saint who is standing on the banks, a fourth figure can be discovered: the benefactor in precious garments, smaller than the others and kneeling on the riverbank. Curiously, his hand is even taken by Saint Christopher and this binds reality with the biblical tale. A wonderful testimonial of the patron’s deep faith!

Christoph I, Knight of the Order of the Golden Fleece

Christoph I (1453-1527), as the son of Katharina of Austria – the sister of Emperor Friedrich III – and Margrave Karl I of Baden, became the Margrave of Baden. He made a name for himself as a brave warrior while serving as a commander for the Emperors Friedrich III and Maximilian I**. As payment for his accomplishments, Christoph I was even made a member of the Order of the Golden Fleece!
With his precious manuscript, originating from Paris ca. 1488, he laid the cornerstone for the margravial collection, from which the Badische Landesbibliothek evolved. Today, Codex Durlach 1 is the oldest specimen of the book collections in Karlsruhe’s Badische Landesbibliothek.

Precious Miniature Painting

The visual décor of the margravial book of hours is an outstanding testimonial to 15th century French illumination and is significantly influenced by the tradition of the great Flemish masters. The miniature pages are colorfully presented and thoughtfully composed: in each case, a large primary miniature is surrounded by a broad decorative frame, which is filled with ornaments, flowers, fruits, animals, banderoles, and other decorative elements. A few pages of the text are surrounded by similarly wonderful frames in addition to a small, wonderfully composed illustration earlier in the text. E.g. the lives of saints, where the respective saint is presented in the small, rectangular miniature. An idiosyncrasy of the manuscript is that alongside the patron, Markgrave Christoph I of Baden, Margrave Bernhard II of Baden and other historical personalities can also be discovered!

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