Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Borso d'Este

Bible of Borso d'Este
Illumination on parchment
Biblioteca Estense, Modena

Borso d'Este (1413 - August 20, 1471) was the first Duke of Ferrara, which he ruled from 1450 until his death. He was a member of the House of Este.

Borso's court was the center of the so-called Ferrarese school of painting, whose members include Francesco del Cossa, Ercole dei Roberti and Cosimo Tura.

Borso d'Este is especially remembered for the famous Bible carrying his name, one of most famous works of miniature in Renaissance Italy, and which he commissioned in 1455.

It was commissioned from Taddeo Crivelli (active 1451, d. ca. 1479, Bologna) who worked with his assistant Franco de' Russi. The Bible was produced in two large volumes at two different rates of remuneration, the higher one reserved for the opening pages of each book of the Bible.

It was made in Ferrara between 1455 and 1461. The manuscript (Modena, Bib. Estense, MS. V.G. 12–13, lat. 422–3) consists of two full-folio volumes of 311 and 293 leaves respectively and contains more than 1000 individual illuminations; it has been termed an encylopedia of 15th-century Ferrarese illumination. The text is written in two columns in a fine Renaissance hand by the Bolognese scribe Pietro Paolo Marone.

The cost of the illuminations alone came to almost 5000 lire, a staggering sum.