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The angel-orchestra of the Sforza Hours - 1

The Sforza Hours (1494-1521). Part 1

The vibrant colors of this book of hours is what struck me immediately. And what a nice surprise that it is filled with musical instruments!

Either projecting from the page like a window that leads us into a biblical scene, or as part of the 'almost bold' marginal paintings, the pages are filled with music. Not only the common late-medieval instruments like the lute, harp and positive organ are part of this imaginary angel-orchestra, but also instruments from antiquity and new inventions of the Renaissance.

This book of hours was commissioned by Bona Sforza, widow of Galeazzo Sforza, Duke of Milan, around 1490 and finished under the patronage of Margaret of Austria, Regent of the Netherlands, between 1517–20. The two artists involved, Giovanni Pietro Birago (active between 1471 and 1513) and the flemish miniaturist Gerard Horenbout, combine their styles creating a captivating and sometimes eclectic experience for the reader.

ENG- British Library, London, Add. MS 34294

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