Digital Commonwealth

Rosarium Psalter

Item Information

Rosarium Psalter
Title (alt.) :
Rosary of Joan the Mad
Title (uniform):
Bening, Simon, 1483 or 1484-1561
Former owner:
Juana, la Loca, Queen of Castile, 1479-1555
Cupples, Harriet
Catholic Church
[ca. 1525]
Manuscripts, Spanish
Manuscripts, Medieval
Boston Public Library
Rare Books Department
Collection (local):
Medieval and Early Renaissance Manuscripts (Collection of Distinction)
Jesus Christ--Art
BelgiumFlanders (region)West Flanders (province)Bruges
14 leaves : parchment, ill. ; 90-100 x 70-80 mm.
Terms of Use:
No known copyright restrictions.
No known restrictions on use.
Notes (acquisition):
Numbers 1-4, 6-8, and 10-14 were given to BPL in April 1917 by Mrs. Joseph Georges (Harriet) Cupples (Schoenberg Database 42804 and 198005). The bibliography up to 1981, including the Census, cites only these twelve. The Agony in the Garden (no. 5) and the Crucifixion (no. 9) were acquired by BPL from Christie's New York, 22 May 1981, lot 12 (BPL acquisition no. 82-157).
Notes (citation):
Ricci, S. de. Census of medieval and Renaissance manuscripts in the United States and Canada, vol. I, page 924
Schoenberg Database of Manuscripts, entry 42804
Schoenberg Database of Manuscripts, entry 198005
Ms. leaves.
A Rosary Psalter, so named because each of the fifteen prayers of the Rosary is followed by a recitation of ten Ave Marias, giving a total of 150, the same number as there are Psalms. Illuminated by the Flemish artist Simon Bening (1483-1561), who worked on numerous known and attributed manuscripts in Bruges and in Antwerp. He is known to have produced four Rosary Psalters, all of which were produced for Spanish patrons. This Rosary was in all likelihood commissioned for Joan I ("the Mad") of Castile (Rodriguez and Treviño, Preface). The script has been said to be that of Antonius van Damme, a known Bening collaborator, although that attribution has not been universally accepted (see Gay, p. 519 and Arnould/Messing, cat. 29). No record exists of the extent of this manuscript in its original state, so the number of original leaves is unknown.
Bibliographic record created by BPL staff based on description by Dr. Lisa Fagin Davis.
In Spanish.
Bibliography: Arnould, A. and J.M. Massing. Splendours of Flanders (exhibition at the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, 1993); Dominguez Rodriguez , A. and P. Treviño Gajardo. Rosario de Juana la Loca (Valencia, 2004); Gay, R. "Selected Scribe Biographies" in T. Kren and S. McKendrick, Illuminating the Renaissance: The Triumph of Flemish Manuscript Painting in Europe (Los Angeles, 2003), pp. 518-521; Kren and McKendrick, cat. 144 (pp. 455-456); Kupfer-Tarasulo, M. "A Rosary Psalter illuminated by Simon Bening" in Quaerendo IX (1979), pp. 209-226; Kupfer-Tarasulo, M. "Innovation and Copy in the Stein Quadriptych of Simon Benin" in Zeitschrift fuer Kunstgeschichte 42 (1979), pp. 274-298, see pp. 294 ff.; Miralpeix Mestres, M. "L'hipotètic Llibre del rosari de la reina Joana en el seu context" in eHumanista 17 (2011), pp. 366-392; Marrow, J. Marrow. "Simon Bening in 1521: A Group of Dated Miniatures" in Liber Amicorum Herman Liebaers (Brussels, 1984), pp. 537-59; Netzer, N. ed., Secular/Sacred 11th -- 16th Century Works from the Boston Public Library and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (Boston College, 2006), exhibit nr. 68.
Notes (object):
Script: Written in a rounded Gothic bookhand in black ink with red rubrics.
Decoration: One- and two-line initials throughout in gold ink on red and/or blue with gold filigree highlighting. Text pages with full trompe-l'oeuil borders of flowers, plants, birds and animals on gold. Full-page illuminations in gold and colors within tracery frames.
Table of Contents:
1: (Blank).
1v: The Annunciation.
2: (Text) O virgen bien aventurada a señora mia, por el gozo que recebiste ...
2v: The Visitation.
3. (Text) O piadosa señora que te humillaste ...
3v: The Nativity.
4: (Text) O virgen y madre de dios yo te suplico per el gozo ...
4v: Christ among the doctors.
5: (Text) O reyna y señora mia madre de dios que sobre mucha afflicion ...
5v: Agony in the Garden.
6: (Text) O virgen y madre de dios señora mia por a quel dolor ...
6v: Flagellation.
7: (Text) O reyna de los angeles señora virgen maria por el dolor ...
7v: Crowning with thorns.
8: (Text) O coronada de gloria y corona de los angeles ...
8v: Bearing of the Cross.
9: (Text) O la mas limpia de manzilla de quantas criaturas ...
9v: Crucifixion.
10: (Text) O soberana señora que siguiendo tras ...
10v: Resurrection.
11: (Text) O madre de dios señora maria por el misterio grande ...
11v: Pentecost.
12: (Text) O virgen y madre de dios consolacio de los pecadores ...
12v: Assumption of the Virgin.
13: (Text) O señora mia virgen y madre de dios por el sagrado misterio ...
13v: Coronation of the Virgin.
14: (Blank).
14v: Empty cross.
Call #:
MS pb Med. 35