Illuminated Leaf from a Book of Hours

BOOK OF HOURS   |   ILLUMINATED LEAF

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"O, GOD, COME TO MY ASSISTANCE!": UNUSUALLY LARGE ILLUMINATED LEAF FROM A LATE 15TH-CENTURY FRENCH BOOK OF HOURS, FEATURING STRIKING HAND-COLORED IMAGE OF THE FLIGHT INTO EGYPT

(ILLUMINATED LEAF). Illuminated Leaf from a Book of Hours. Rouen, France, late 15th century. Single vellum leaf (5-3/4 by 8 inches), illuminated in gold, black, white, gray, red, pink, green, blue, and brown inks; matted and window framed, measures 13-1/2 by 11 inches.

Exquisite illuminated miniature from a French Book of Hours, an exceptional, unusually large, hand-colored image depicting the Flight into Egypt, with three lines of Latin text from the Hours of the Virgin in Gothic script and a three-line initial beneath the image, beautifully bordered with two beasts, flowers, and acanthus leaves on three sides.

This beautiful illuminated miniature is from a Book of Hours from late 15th-century Rouen France. The Latin Gothic text is from the Hours of the Virgin and includes the first verse of Psalm 69. The large miniature depicts the Flight into Egypt, crisply rendered. Three members of the family travel in full daylight against a lush background, with a female attendant following behind. In the distance, a soldier and a farmer are depicted waving to the travelers, a reference to a legend in which grain magically sprung up when the family's passed, confusing Herod's henchmen. In that apocryphal episode, a farmer tells the pursuing soldiers that no one has passed him since his grain was sown; the soldiers turn back, unaware that the grain has sprouted overnight. The artist here includes numerous gilt touches, particularly along garments, to highlight the importance of grain in the story and the divinity of the Holy Family. The scene is framed in gilt and in red. The three-sided border, rendered against a gilt ground, features flowers, acanthus leaves, and more, as well as two beasts in the border, twisting their necks and heads toward the Mother and Child. The recto has three lines of Gothic text in script as well as a large three-line "D" in gray and white filigree with an enclosed blue flower and leaves, all against a burnished gold ground. There is also a single-line "D" initial in gilt enclosing gilt filigree on a red ground. The verso features 14 lines of similar script, one-two line initial executed very elaborately in a similar style to the one on the recto, one one-line initial, and two line-extenders.

Only pinpoint soiling to margins. Fine condition.

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