TEXT FROM HOURS OF THE DAYS OF THE WEEK
AN ILLUMINATED VELLUM MANUSCRIPT LEAF WITH A MINIATURE OF "ALL SAINTS," FROM A BOOK OF HOURS IN LATIN
Price: 3,500.00 USD
France: ca. 1490. 133 x 191 mm. (5 1/4 x 7 1/2"). Single column, three lines on the recto, 16 lines on the verso, in a pleasing, careful bātarde hand. Rubrics in red, verso with one two-line initial in burnished gold on a pink and blue ground, recto with three-line "S" in the same style, recto also with A FULL FLORAL BORDER containing blue and gold acanthus leaves, sprays of red and blue flowers with green and gold leaves, hairline stems and burnished gold berries, this frame ENCLOSING AN ARCH-TOPPED MINIATURE OF ALL SAINTS showing at least a dozen figures standing on a white tile floor with blue and white sky above. A hint of pigment loss in one or two areas of blue, but IN ESPECIALLY FINE CONDITION, entirely fresh, clean, and bright. Although this is well composed and well painted, its figures are not identified in the usual way. Except for Saint Paul, who has his sword and book, none of the saints depicted here is accompanied by an attribute, so it is difficult to be certain who is being pictured. In the front row of saints, the artist seems to have given Paul an uncanonical full head of hair, while (presumably) Peter sports a monk's tonsure to Paul's left. The other three men near the front are all youthful, the bearded figure on the left in ample robe and cloak, the remaining two figures young and clean-shaven; the blond on the right is probably meant to be John the Divine. The cap on the youth in the middle is intriguing, being a tall red cone, so narrow that it seems likely to topple off, and the young blond has a bizarre red feather(?) protruding from his halo (or perhaps this is meant to be a flame of inspiration). This uncommonly-seen All Saints miniature appeared in the Hours of the Days of the Week, an infrequently included Office that would only appear in a very substantial Book of Hours containing many parts beyond the basics. When this image does appear, it will represent not only major, readily identifiable figures, but also various categories of saints: prophets and patriarchs, apostles and evangelists, martyrs, confessors (those who suffered but did not die for the faith), saints of the various religious orders, military saints, virgins, and other female saints.