Saturday 6 March 2010

Renaissance Motifs from the Court of Rudolf II

When I was in Prague talking to a conference a number of years ago, I was lucky enough to stumble on an exhibition of a 16th century manuscript that literally took my breath away. At the time there was no publication to bring home as a souvenir and all I had were vivid memories.
The manuscript was the last great illuminated manuscript of its age, inscribed by Georg Bocsay and illuminated by Joris Hoefnagel in 1561-62 for Holy Roman Emperor, Rudolf II. As you can see, I later acquired a book of the manuscript - Mira Calligraphiae Monumenta for the princely sum of £48 - I see the price of the book is now almost as breathtaking as the manuscript itself!
But here you admire the illustrative work of the time which provides a useful comparison for images worked on spot samplers. Look at the third image, can you see how the trompe l'oeil lavender is cleverly drawn so that it appears to be slotted into the book? And looking at the last illustration below, you can see how this deception is taken over on to the reverse of the manuscript page.


  1. What a treasure! This is stunning!

  2. I did an Amazon (US) query for this book. Pricey, but less than UK. I also found something similar for a resonable price: "Nature Illuminated: Flora and Fauna from the Court of Emperor Rudolf II (Hardcover)"

  3. Gorgeous prints, must be a pleasure to read and look at this treasure.

  4. Thank you very much for taking the time to seek out more accessible versions of the book - that's what we are all about!

  5. You'll be happy to know what a bargin you got when you purchased this book. I just found it on line for $818.38 and a first edition for over $600. WOW!