The Trivulzio Hours, the Ghent Altarpiece, and the Mass as Devotional Subject

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Lieven van Lathem invented a spectacular new solution to the daunting task of producing 14 miniatures for the relatively infrequently copied Hours and Masses for the days of the week. His solution was to depict the relevant liturgical celebrations, thereby turning liturgy into an object of representation. The rhythm of the weekly liturgies thereby echoes the rhythm of the weekly readings. The liturgical celebrations do no seem to take place in one unified and coherent church, but rather, Lieven van Lathem depicted various altars within a fantasy gothic church, which in some ways resembles the Sint-Janskerk in Ghent. At least one of the miniatures in the Trivulzio Hours clearly recalls an altarpiece in the Sint-Janskerk, namely a post-card-sized rendition of the Ghent Altarpiece. Studying his miniatures not only gives us insight into a new source for imagery, but also gives us insight into the reception of the Ghent Altarpiece in the fifteenth century.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)199-216
Number of pages17
JournalJaarboek voor Nederlandse boekgeschiedenis
Publication statusPublished - 2009


  • Lieven van Lathem
  • Trivulzio Hours
  • Medieval manuscripts
  • Jan van Eyck
  • Ghent Altarpiece


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