Book of Hours of the Blessed Virgin Mary Flora

Horae Beatae Mariae Virginis (La Flora) (Book of Hours of the Blessed Virgin Mary “Flora”) is a lavishly decorated and illuminated codex that derives its name from the extraordinary presence of carefully drawn flowers and fruits. It is one of the most beautiful manuscripts in the National Library of Naples, known for the richness and variety of its iconography, which follows the taste and methods of the great masters of Flemish illumination.

The codex begins with a calendar in which the months of the year are surrounded by an architectonic frame and each illuminated with two distinctive scenes; the second scene features the zodiacal sign. The codex includes more than 100 illuminations, 36 of which are full page. Produced in Flanders somewhere between Valenciennes, Bruges, and Ghent, the manuscript was realized in a workshop, as is evident from the use by the workshop of test sheets or tracing cards for the recurring scenes. The date of production falls between 1483 and 1498. The codex is part of the Farnese Collection, which was brought from Parma to Naples after the Bourbon monarch, Charles III, King of Spain, conquered Naples in 1734.

Format: 368 folios, 20.4 x 13.4 cm

Copyright: Biblioteca nazionale Vittorio Emanuele III - Napoli - IT-NA0079