BENING, Simon
(b. 1483, Ghent, d. 1561, Bruges)

Genealogy of the Infante Dom Fernando of Portugal

1530-34
Manuscript (Additional Ms. 12531), 559 x 394 mm
British Library, London

This manuscript was commissioned by Infante Dom Fernando of Portugal (1507-1534), son of King Manuel I of Portugal and his second wife, Maria of Aragon. The miniaturist was Simon Bening who enjoyed the favour of the Portuguese royal household.

The pages in the Genealogy of the Infante Dom Fernando of Portugal dealing with the main episodes of the history of the House of Aragon begin with his ancestors, who are traced back as far as the Old Testament. Their overall structure recalls depictions of the Tree of Jesse, familiar to us from religious depiction. Moreover, the extraordinary format of the leaves - one of the largest in the history of European book illumination - recalls panel paintings.

The miniature on folio 10r shows the genealogical tree of John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster (1340-1399).




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