"O GOD, COME TO MY ASSISTANCE!": EXCEPTIONAL ILLUMINATED LEAF FROM A 15TH-CENTURY FRENCH BOOK OF HOURS, FEATURING A HAND-COLORED IMAGE OF THE PRESENTATION IN THE TEMPLE BEAUTIFULLY HIGHLIGHTED IN GOLD
(ILLUMINATED LEAF). Illuminated Leaf from a Book of Hours. Paris, France, circa 1440. Single vellum leaf (3-1/2 by 4-3/4 inches), illuminated in gold, black, white, gray, red, pink, green, and blue inks. Beautifully silk matted and window framed, entire piece measures 13 by 10-1/2 inches.
Lovely illuminated miniature from a French Book of Hours, a beautiful hand-colored image depicting the Presentation in the Temple, with three lines of Latin text from the Hour of None in Gothic script and a three-line initial, beautifully bordered with flowers, birds, berries, and acanthus leaves.
This beautiful illuminated miniature is from a Book of Hours from the mid 15th-century, Paris, France. The Latin Gothic text is from the Hour of None and includes the first verse of Psalm 69. The miniature depicts the Presentation in the Temple. A haloed baby Jesus is held by High Priest Simeon at an altar outdoors, as Mary, her attendant, and Joseph look on. This leaf is unusual as the Presentation in the Temple is usually an indoor scene. Here, Jesus is presented outdoors with Simeon holding him, against a complex architectural background. Though uncommon, this outdoor setting has been seen in several well-known miniatures including in the Cologne School Gospels of the Abbess Hitda of Meschede from the 11th century. Likewise, the focus on Simeon and Jesus is perhaps truer to the Biblical story than the more traditional scene. Such a depiction dates back to the earliest surviving depiction, a 5th-century mosaic at Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome (which also relies on an outdoor scene). The attendant in the present scene, carrying the iconographic basket of sacrificial doves, remains unidentified. While Saint Anna, who came to the Temple, would be the expected figure, she was known to be "of a great age," while the woman shown looks no older than Mary. The scene is simply framed by an arched gilt border and then framed again by an elaborate border with two birds, berries, flowers, and blue-and-gilt acanthus leaves. The recto has three lines of gothic text, as well as lovely three-line filigree initial on a burnished gold ground. The verso features 9 lines of similar script, two one-line gilt initials on filigree grounds, three lines extenders in the same style, and a one-sided border similar to that on the recto.
Only slightest wear to faces, otherwise in fine condition.