c 1475 Book of Hours Leaf - Presentation in the Temple


Original manuscript leaf from a Book of Hours on animal vellum.(160 x 110 mm - 6.4 x 4.4") 

Painted in the style associated with Willem Vrelant in Bruges  - one of Bruges’s leading illuminators 1450’s – 1481. (Ref: Wieck, Painted Prayers, #76 – similar style by Vrelant workshop). Surrounding the painting is a decorative floral border in colors of blue, green, gray, pink, red and gold. Verso blank.               

Netherlands, c. 1475.

The miniature painting, in Semi-Grisaille, depicts the Presentation in the Temple. This is an exceptional portrayal of the Virgin Mary presenting the Christ Child, with his hands extended,  to Simeon who reaches with veiled hands; Joseph stands in the background; one female attendant stands behind Mary, and another stands behind Simeon.

The Presentation of Jesus at the Temple is described in the Gospel of Luke 2:22-40.  Forty days after the birth of Jesus, Mary and Joseph took the child to the Temple in Jerusalem (as tradition dictated).  Once there, they encountered Simeon the Righteous who prophesized that the infant would redeem the world. This event is also known as Candlemas, and celebrated on February 2, the 40th day of the Christmas-Epiphany season.

Semi-Grisaille is a technique that appears in French court manuscripts around 1300, revived in the southern Netherlands in the mid-15th century. This revival was probably partly to convey an agreeable sense of mortality (many of these books are believed to have been made for widows) and partly in response to the new fashion for engravings, heightened with colored washes or splashes of gold. 

Presented in an archival 14x11'' mat

  • Inventory# IM-3495