PARIS – On Friday, Christie’s in Paris sold at auction an exceptional
illuminated masterpiece of Renaissance Judaica – estimated to be worth for
400,000–600,000 euros – for over 1,857,000 euros, a representative of the
auction house told The Jerusalem Post.
The Renaissance masterpiece – an
illustrated mahzor containing all the liturgical prayers for the whole year, the
daily rituals, and the prayers, blessings for Passover, Succot, Yom Kippur and
Rosh Hashana – was part of an auction of old and modern manuscripts and rare
The representative refused to give any information about the
identity of the buyer, as that is the policy of the auction house. Coming from a
French collection, the masterpiece received its authorization to leave the
country, added the source.
The unique book of Jewish prayers dates from
the 15th century and is composed of 442 vellum pages. It includes wonderful
illuminations, made by Boccardino the Ancient, one of the most preeminent
European illuminator. The leather binding dating from the 16th century shows the
armorial bearings of a palm tree with one crouching lion each side, heraldic
symbols that often represented many Jewish families in Italy during the
With its beautiful calligraphy in Hebraic letters,
the mahzor includes illuminations representing religious ceremonies, the inside
of a synagogue, angels and animals.
In the book, the illustrations, the
architecture, the synagogue, the clothes and the gilding are in the style of
The work likely stems from the period 1449-1492
during which Lorenzo the Magnificent favored Jewish culture. Another prayer book
of this period is the “Rothschild Mahzor,” kept at the Jewish Theological
Seminary in New York.