Rothschild Miscellany

MS. 180/51 - Israel Museum (Jerusalem, Israel)

Alternate Titles:

Rothschild-Sammelband

Facsimile edition
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Codiology

Alternate Titles

Rothschild-Sammelband

Type
Extent / Format

948 pages / 21.0 x 15.6 cm

Origin
Date
1479
Style
Genre
Language
Patron

Moses ben Yekuthiel Hakohen

Illustrations

816 illuminated pages and miniatures

Former owners

Solomon de Parente
Rothschild family
Hugo Streisand
Jewish Theological Seminary of New York
James de Rothschild

Short description

The famous Rothschild Miscellany of the Israel Museum in Jerusalem is considered to be the most comprehensive work of illumination for Jewish religion and culture in the 15th century. The nearly 1,000 page-long manuscript is a work of the Italian Renaissance, originating from Northern Italy at the end of the 15th century. The volume’s name comes from its 19th century owner, the Rothschild family. An eventful history underlines the significance of the manuscript. A total of 37 texts – concerning biblical, liturgical, but also secular themes – were illustrated in magnificent miniatures of the highest quality. In this way, the Rothschild Miscellany represents the highpoint of Hebrew illumination!

Facsimile editions available

Description

Rothschild Miscellany

The famous Rothschild Miscellany of the Israel Museum in Jerusalem is considered to be the most comprehensive work of illumination for Jewish religion and culture in the 15th century. The nearly 1,000 page-long manuscript is a work of the Italian Renaissance, originating from Northern Italy at the end of the 15th century. The volume’s name comes from its 19th century owner, the Rothschild family. An eventful history underlines the significance of the manuscript. A total of 37 texts – concerning biblical, liturgical, but also secular themes – were illustrated in magnificent miniatures of the highest quality. In this way, the Rothschild Miscellany represents the highpoint of Hebrew illumination!

Originating from the Italian Renaissance

Moses ben Jekutiel Hakohen, a wealthy Jewish patron, was probably responsible for this unique treasure of Hebrew illumination. He – who is identified by name on fol. 106 – commissioned this splendidly designed omnibus manuscript in 1479. The Rothschild Miscellany arose as a masterpiece of the Renaissance in Northern Italy, presumably in Ferrara. The Master of the Este Circle is supposed to be the artist. This masterful manuscript’s 948 pages measuring 21 x 15.9 cm give a comprehensive inside view into Jewish religion and culture.

The Impressive Adornment

Ms. 180/51 of the Israel Museum in Jerusalem, renowned as the Rothschild Miscellany, impresses with exuberant adornment on nearly every page. 816 embellished pages present magnificent miniatures, floral elements, and typical, small animal figures as well as décor designed with gold and silver: all the splendor of illumination. Over 200 scenic depictions illustrate the text. Consequently, the manuscript is as impressive for its comprehensiveness as it is for the quality of its illustrations!

One Book for Prayer, Study, and Entertainment

The Rothschild Miscellany assembles a variety of texts on different themes in splendid combination with impressive artistry. The manuscript contains a total of 37 texts and treatises. It is not only a prayer book that contains, inter alia, the Passover Haggadah and the Siddur, but also the Psalms and various Hebrew proverbs. Alongside these liturgical and biblical texts, the omnibus also contains secular and even entertaining themes, e.g. texts concerning moral, philosophical, and natural-scientific issues. With its wide-ranging content, the Rothschild Miscellany is the most comprehensive work of illumination concerning Jewish religion and culture in the 15th century!

An Exciting History

A turbulent history is tied to the Rothschild Miscellany. In the middle of the 19th century, the manuscript found itself in the Solomon de Parente Collection in Trieste. It was then sold to the Rothschild family in Paris, but was stolen by the Nazis during the Second World War. The manuscript finally reemerged in New York and was returned to the Rothschild family. They – or James A. de Rothschild more precisely – endowed the precious treasure to the Israel Museum, where it is stored today.

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