Illuminated Leaf from a Book of Hours

BOOK OF HOURS   |   ILLUMINATED LEAF

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Item#: 117054 price:$8,500.00

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"O, GOD, COME TO MY ASSISTANCE!": STUNNING ILLUMINATED LEAF FROM A LATE 15TH-CENTURY FRENCH BOOK OF HOURS, FEATURING A BEAUTIFUL HAND-COLORED IMAGE OF THE PRESENTATION IN THE TEMPLE

(ILLUMINATED LEAF). Illuminated Leaf from a Book of Hours. Likely Rouen, France, circa 1475. Single vellum leaf (4-1/2 by 6 inches), illuminated in gold, black, white, gray, red, pink, green, blue, and brown inks. Beautifully silk matted and window framed, entire piece measures 13 by 10-1/2 inches. $8500.

Beautiful illuminated miniature from a French Book of Hours, a striking hand-colored image depicting the Presentation in the Temple, with four lines of Latin text from the Hour of None in batarde script, a three-line initial, a one-line initial, and two line extenders, beautifully bordered with animals, flowers, and acanthus leaves.

This beautiful illuminated miniature is from a Book of Hours from the late 15th-century, likely Rouen, France. The Latin batarde text is from the Hour of None and includes the first verse of Psalm 69. The miniature depicts the Presentation in the Temple. A just-unswaddled Jesus is shown being lifted from an altar by High Priest Simeon. The Virgin Mary, usually shown handing Jesus to the priest, is here shown kneeling in prayer in front of the altar, dressed in her iconic blue robe. Joseph, uncommonly, is not present in this scene. Instead, Mary is attended by a handmaiden, carrying a basket of turtle doves as a sacrificial offering. This leaf is notable for Christ's appearance, here very much a baby and with a serene face instead of the usual frightened one. Christ reaches toward his mother, showing the closeness of their bond. This miniature can be attributed to the Master of Robert Gaguin. Named for his work on an exquisite copy of Robert Gaguin's translation of "De Bello Gallico" presented to King Charles VII, the artist, now known as "Robert Gaguin," is known for large historical works and occasionally Books of Hours made for members of the French royal circle. His work may be compared to that of the Master of Jacques of Besançon, although, as Avril and Reynaud note, the illuminations of the Master of Robert Gaguin tend to be more modern in appearance and less dependent on tradition. He also collaborated with other prominent illuminators and worked with the publisher Antoine Vérard on illuminating special copies of printed editions for the wealthy elite. The scene is elaborately framed by an architectural gold arch with a secondary surrounding border rendered against a partially gilt ground and featuring a four-legged animal, a charming bird, flowers, and acanthus leaves. The recto has four lines of batarde text as well as a large three-line floriated "D" in white against a burnished gold ground. There is also a single-line "D" initial in gilt on a red and gold filigree ground. The verso features 19 lines of similar script, one two-line filigree initial on a burnished gilt ground (a smaller version of that on the recto), five gilt initials on red and blue grounds, and two line extenders in the same style.

A few tiny paint chips, only noticeable on Mary's halo. Fine condition.

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