Gualenghi-d'Este Hours
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Taddeo Crivelli, illuminator; Guglielmo Giraldi, illuminator
Italian, Ferrara, about 1469
Tempera colors, gold leaf, gold paint, and ink on parchment bound between wood boards covered with dark red morocco

4 1/4 x 3 1/8 in.

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This tiny, hand-held manuscript was the personal prayer book of Andrea Gualengo and his wife, Orsina d'Este, who was a member of the ruling family of Ferrara, where this manuscript was made. A high-ranking courtier at the Este court, Gualengo successfully negotiated an accord between the cities of Faenza and Ferrara. Probably in recognition of his diplomatic service, he was allowed to marry into the Este family. The book of hours may have been made in connection with Andrea and Orsina's wedding.

The text of the manuscript comprises the standard readings found in books of hours, including the Hours of the Virgin, Penitential Psalms, the Hours of the Holy Cross, the Office for the Dead, and Suffrages, which are prayers to saints. This last section contains the majority of the twenty-one full-page miniatures in the manuscript.

Two artists working at the court of Ferrara painted the illuminations. Taddeo Crivelli was responsible for the majority of the miniatures, and another important illuminator, Guglielmo Giraldi, contributed four of them. An example of the Renaissance style in northern Italy, the manuscript is rich in references to classical antiquity and employs a variety of dramatic illusionistic devices.

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