De Aetatibus Mundi Imagines - Ω - The Illustrated Ages of the World.

by 5T1V November 23 2015


De Aetatibus Mundi Imagines is a literary and pictorial sketchbook. The author of the manuscript and painter of pictures was Francisco de Hollanda (1517-1584). It is a manuscript of 189 pages. There are brush, pen, pencil black, brown and brown ink, gouache and gold colors, on beige laid paper. Francisco de Hollanda stayed in Rome, with the Portuguese ambassador from 1538 until 1540. He was a friend of Michelangelo. There were 3 codexes, and only the third survives.

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Francisco de Holanda (Hollanda) (1517-1585) was a painter, historian, architect and humanist philosopher from Portugal.

He apprenticed under his father as a manuscript miniaturist at the royal court in Lisbon and was sent to Rome by King João III in 1538. For the next nine years, Holanda studied among the notables of the Italian Renaissance, including Parmiagianino, Giambologna and, most significantly, Michelangelo.

It was Michelangelo who introduced Holanda to the classical ideals of the Renaissance which were given voice in Holanda's best known written work, a Neo-Platonic treatise on art in three volumes, 'Da Pintura Antigua' (1548). The second volume features dialogues with Michelangelo (during the period he painted the Sistine Chapel) and Giulio Clovio, among others, making Holanda, along with Vasari and Condivi, one of the 'official biographers' of Michelangelo. The book series played an important role in spreading the tenets of the Renaissance in Portugal.

Other works of note produced by Holanda include drawings of Roman architecture, studies of Italian art and architectural heritage, painted portraits and a survey of Lisbon urbanisation.

Among Holanda's surviving books of drawings, 'De Aetatibus Mundi Imagines' is the most important. Over thirty years - from 1543 to 1573 - Holanda sketched and painted designs intended to portray the history of the world according to the bible. It is one of the treasures of the National Library of Spain and is available online in full (150+ folio sketches, 15 of them coloured).

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