about 1505 Cardinal Patriarch Marco Cornaro
(B-61) commissioned an unidentified artist of Northern Italy to
create the famous illuminated manuscript that has become known as
the Cornaro Missal. In the early 1600s the missal was bound in a
Roman binding of elaborately tooled morocco in a French fanfare
design. One page from the missal, a nativity scene, is shown here.
The missal was later acquired by the Austrian branch of the Rothschild
family, then seized by the Nazis on the eve of World War II. The
missal was returned to the Rothschilds in the post-war period and
finally sold by them at auction at Christie's in London 8 July 1999.
The purchase price, equal to U. S. $4.46 million, is the most ever
paid for an illuminated Italian manuscript--validating again after
almost 500 years the exquisite taste of the Cornaro family.