Mira Botanica

Mira Botanica

The Model Book of Calligraphy

The art of still life painting is a celebrated part of Dutch culture, but this time-honoured artistic style didn’t develop from thin air. Before still life emerged, there were illustrators who delicately illuminated handwritten manuscripts with images of plants, fruits, flowers, animals and insects to add emotional power to a written work.

One of the most celebrated practitioners of this style of illumination was Joris Hoefnagel (1542–1601). Hoefnagel, a pivotal artistic figure from the Netherlands, is remembered as being the last important Flemish manuscript illuminator and one of the first artists to work on the new genre of still life. In the 1590s the Emperor Rudolf II commissioned Hoefnagel to add his illuminations to the Mira calligraphiae monumenta, a mid-16th-century manuscript on the art of calligraphy by Georg Bocskay. The page reproduced here is known as Wainscot, French Rose, Wasplike Insect, English Daisy and Caterpillar.

The Mira calligraphiae monumenta (Model Book of Calligraphy) is regarded as one of the last important examples of European manuscript illumination. Today, the book can be found in the Getty Museum. We are thrilled to share this reproduction with you as the first release in our new collaboration with this important cultural institution.

For fans of: Calligraphy, hand lettering, antique manuscripts, Joris Hoefnagel, still life painting, Divine Comedy, De Sideribus Tractatus