Book of Prayers


This book of prayers from the Benedictine monastery at Metten originally was intended for silent worship. The manuscript contains ornaments, tendrils, drolleries, and a series of illustrations framed by initials by the noted German Renaissance painter Berthold Furtmeyr (active 1460–1501). These miniatures depict scenes from the life of Christ and events involving the saints, as recounted in various legends. Furtmeyr and his followers were important contributors to the ancient Ratisbon School of Illumination. An artist of great renown, Furtmeyr illuminated many impressive works, including this manuscript, the Furtmeyr Bible, the Salzburg feast missal in five volumes (all now at the Bavarian State Library in Munich, Germany), and many other works. The artist showed his mastery of the difficult task of successfully combining pictures, ornament, and text with great authority. Furtmeyr is famous for his handling of colors, his brightly shining illuminations, and the extreme diligence that marks his craftsmanship. Although he was still deeply rooted in the Middle Ages, his love of color, nocturnal scenes, and female nudes mark a transition to the Renaissance.

Last updated: August 28, 2015