The Visconti Hours, National Library, Florence

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This extraordinary manuscript, perhaps one of the gayest, most spontaneous and fanciful of Western illuminations, is an exceptionally rich Book of Hours painted by two quite different artists. In the late 1300s, Giovannino dei Grassi and his workshop painted the first folios for Giangaleazzo Visconti, despot of Milan, but the Duke's death in 1402 interrupted the work. Belbello da Pavia completed this dazzling manuscript for Giangaleazzo's son, Filippo Maria, after he became Duke in 1412. As Millard Meiss has pointed out in ...

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