"OH LORD, OPEN THOU MY LIPS AND MY MOUTH SHALL SHEW FORTH THY PRAISE": STRIKING ILLUMINATED LEAF FROM A FRENCH BOOK OF HOURS, CIRCA 1430, FEATURING A RARE IMAGE OF THE CRUCIFIXION
(ILLUMINATED LEAF). Illuminated Leaf from a Book of Hours. Besancon, France, circa 1430. Single vellum leaf (5 by 7 inches), illuminated in gold, blue, red, black, green, yellow, brown, and white inks. Window matted and framed, entire piece measures 13 by 10 inches. $12,750.
Exquisite illuminated miniature from a French Book of Hours, circa 1430, featuring an exceptional, large, domed, hand-colored image depicting the Crucifixion, with the text from the Hours of the Cross.
This beautiful illuminated miniature is from a French Book of Hours, circa 1430. This moving depiction of the Crucifixion shows Christ set against a starry pink sky, his face bearing a pained yet calm expression as his head hangs forward. His wounds have been carefully rendered, with the artist choosing to show blood and the misery of his martyrdom. Mary stands to the left in a blue cloak, her hands folded and her expression resigned. At Christ's left stands Saint John wearing a red cloak, his face turned away from Christ as he prays. This Book of Hours bears substantial similarities to the Besancon Hours of (circa) 1440 in Mettingen, Germany (Draiflessen Museum, Ms. Liberna 5), suggesting that it was painted by an artist from Franche-Comte or eastern France. However, the details of this piece—particularly the rudimentary landscape—suggest that it was executed earlier than the German leaf, perhaps circa 1430. The artist's skill is clearly evident; his style is clean and sharp and the details of the faces imbue the scene with great emotional weight. This work is also elaborately bordered, with two gilt borders—one elaborately illuminated with flowers—and a surrounding fruit, flower, acanthus leaf, and ivy spray border. The recto contains three lines of text from the Hours of the Cross, a one-line gilt initial on a floriated ground, a line extender, and a lovely three-line floriated initial rendered in purple and white filigree as part of the gilt border. The 13-line verso is accomplished in a similar style, with text in black, red, and gilt, two two-line initials, three one-line initials, and one line extender (all in gilt on a filigreed ground), and a similar fruit, flower, and ivy spray border along one side. Text in Latin.
A few small scuff marks. Very nearly fine condition.