TEXT FROM THE OPENING OF THE HOURS OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
AN ILLUMINATED VELLUM MANUSCRIPT LEAF WITH A MINIATURE OF PENTECOST, FROM A BOOK OF HOURS IN LATIN
Price: 3,500.00 USD
France: ca. 1490. 146 x 95 mm. (5 3/4 x 3 3/4"). Single column, three lines on the recto, 16 lines on the verso, in a pleasing, careful bātarde hand. Verso with two one-line initials in blue with red penwork, one pink and blue line filler, and two two-line initials in burnished gold on pink and blue grounds, recto with a three-line "D" in blue on a pink ground with white tracery, the center with four trefoils of burnished gold, the same side WITH A FULL FLORAL BORDER featuring blue and gold acanthus leaves, sprays of pink, blue, and red flowers with green and gold leaves, and numerous burnished gold berries, the border ENCLOSING AN ARCH-TOPPED MINIATURE OF PENTECOST (measuring approximately 72 x 58 mm.), the Virgin sitting on a low dais at the center of the scene, an open book in her lap, the Apostles clustered around her, two of them kneeling on the tile floor at her feet, another (perhaps Saint John) standing on the right, his hand extended, apparently after opening the shutter of an arched window in the back to admit the dove of the Holy Spirit, which hovers in front of a pink sun radiating gold beams, the miniature and text within a thin burnished gold frame. Much of the blue rubbed off the "D" and small patches of paint flaked off the green robes of three Apostles, otherwise a fine leaf, very clean and bright, with shining gold and ample margins. All eyes are on the Virgin in this Pentecost miniature, the scene most frequently used to begin the Hours of the Holy Spirit, one of the basic texts in the typical Books of Hours. She bends her head in gracious modesty, her sweet face framed by a white coif, and it is clear that everyone in the room is emotionally joined with her. Particularly notable here is the artist's success at creating space, using deeply receding perspective to create a room of ample proportions and considerable depth. The removal of the shutter to allow the dove to enter is a nice touch and something we have not noticed in other representations of this event.