Mira calligraphiae monumenta

Object Details

Title:

Mira calligraphiae monumenta

Artist/Maker(s):

Joris Hoefnagel (Flemish / Hungarian, 1542 - 1600)

and Georg Bocskay (Hungarian, died 1575)

Culture:

Flemish and Hungarian

Place(s):

Vienna, Austria (Place created)

Date:

fols. 1-129 written 1561 - 1562; illumination added about 1591 - 1596

Medium:

Tempera colors, watercolors, gold and silver paint, and ink on parchment and paper bound between pasteboard covered with red morocco

Dimensions:

Leaf: 16.6 x 12.4 cm (6 9/16 x 4 7/8 in.)

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In the 1500s, as printing became the most common method of producing books, intellectuals increasingly valued the inventiveness of scribes and the aesthetic qualities of writing. From 1561 to 1562, Georg Bocskay, the Croatian-born court secretary to the Holy Roman Emperor Ferdinand I, created this Model Book of Calligraphy in Vienna to demonstrate his technical mastery of the immense range of writing styles known to him.

About thirty years later, Emperor Rudolph II, Ferdinand's grandson, commissioned Joris Hoefnagel to illuminate Bocskay's model book. Hoefnagel added fruit, flowers, and insects to nearly every page, composing them so as to enhance the unity and balance of the page's design. It was one of the most unusual collaborations between scribe and painter in the history of manuscript illumination.

Because of Hoefnagel's interest in painting objects of nature, his detailed images complement Rudolph II's celebrated Kunstkammer, a cabinet of curiosities that contained bones, shells, fossils, and other natural specimens. Hoefnagel's careful images of nature also influenced the development of Netherlandish still life painting.

In addition to his fruit and flower illuminations, Hoefnagel added to the Model Book a section on constructing the letters of the alphabet in upper- and lowercase.

Related Works
Exhibitions
50 Jahre Kunsthandelsverband der Schweiz (September 15 to November 11, 1973) (no. 196; fols. not known)
  • Kunsthaus Zürich, (Zurich), September 15 to November 11, 1973
Secular Manuscripts (October 21, 1986 to January 4, 1987) (fols. 73v - 74)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum, (Malibu), October 21, 1986 to January 4, 1987
The Decorated Letter (July 21 to October 6, 1987) (fols. 143v - 144)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum, (Malibu), July 21 to October 6, 1987
Prag um 1600: Kunst und Kultur am Hofe Kaiser Rudolfs II (June 10, 1988 to February 26, 1989) (no. 600; fols. 36v -37)
  • Kunsthistorisches Museum, (Vienna), November 24, 1988 to February 26, 1989
Illuminated Flemish Manuscripts of the Late Middle Ages (July 26 to October 16, 1988) (fol. 106)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum, (Malibu), July 26 to October 16, 1988
Vie a mon desir: Illuminated Manuscripts and Their Patrons (April 18 to July 2, 1989) (fols. 133v - 134)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum, (Malibu), April 18 to July 2, 1989
Recent Acquisitions of Illuminated Manuscripts, 1984-1989 (July 17 to September 30, 1989) (fol. 28)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum, (Malibu), July 17 to September 30, 1989
The Art of the Written Word: Medieval and Renaissance Calligraphy in Illuminated Manuscripts (January 16 to April 1, 1990) (fol. 22)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum, (Malibu), January 16 to April 1, 1990
Illuminated Secular Manuscripts (July 17 to September 30, 1990) (fol. 77)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum, (Malibu), July 17 to September 30, 1990
The Decorated Letter (January 14 to March 29, 1992) (fols. 137v - 138)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum, (Malibu), January 14 to March 29, 1992
Art and Science: Joris Hoefnagel and the Representation of Nature in the Renaissance (November 3, 1992 to January 17, 1993) (fol. 75v - 76)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum, (Malibu), November 3, 1992 to January 17, 1993
Illuminated Secular Manuscripts (January 24 to April 9, 1995) (fols. 76v - 77)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum, (Malibu), January 24 to April 9, 1995
Masterpieces of Medieval and Renaissance Manuscript illumination (December 16, 1997 to March 22, 1998) (fols. 105v - 106)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), December 16, 1997 to March 22, 1998
Flemish Illumination of the Late Middle Ages (November 3, 1998 to January 17, 1999) (fols. 143v - 144)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), November 3, 1998 to January 17, 1999
Art and Science: Joris Hoefnagel and the Representation of Nature in the Renaissance (October 12, 1999 to January 9, 2000) (fols. 75v - 76)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), October 12, 1999 to January 9, 2000
Deceptions and Illusions: Five Centuries of Trompe l'Oeil Painting (October 13, 2002 to March 2, 2003) (no. 29; fols. 36v- 37; fols 60v-61 (changed folio mid-exhibition))
  • National Gallery of Art (Washington, D.C.), October 13, 2002 to March 2, 2003
Picturing the Natural World (June 17 to September 7, 2003) (fols. 32v - 38)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), June 17 to September 7, 2003
The Medieval Bookshelf: From Romance to Astronomy (January 24 to April 9, 2006) (fols. 82v - 83)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), January 24 to April 9, 2006
Landscape in the Renaissance (August 1 to October 15, 2006) (fols. 85v - 86)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), August 1 to October 15, 2006
Encompassing the Globe (June 23 to September 16, 2007) (no. P-32; fols. 105v - 106)
  • Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, (Washington), June 23 to September 16, 2007
The Decorated Letter (2007) (November 13, 2007 to January 27, 2008) (fols. 137v - 138)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), November 13, 2007 to January 27, 2008
Maria Sibylla Merian & Daughters: Women of Art and Science (February 23 to August 31, 2008) (Fol. 31v - 32)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), June 10 to August 31, 2008
Building the Medieval World: Architecture in Illuminated Manuscripts (March 2 to May 16, 2010) (fols. 135v - 136)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), March 2 to May 16, 2010
Illuminated Manuscripts from Belgium and the Netherlands (August 24, 2010 to February 6, 2011) (a: fol. 144v - 145 b: fol. 30v - 31)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), August 24, 2010 to February 6, 2011
Gardens of the Renaissance (May 28 to August 11, 2013) (fols. 24v - 25)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), May 28 to August 11, 2013
Give and Ye Shall Receive: Gift Giving in the Middle Ages (December 12, 2014 to March 15, 2015) (fols. 111v - 112)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), December 12, 2014 to March 15, 2015
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