c 1470-90 Book of Hours Leaf - Presentation - Candlemas


Original leaf from a medieval illuminated manuscript Book of Hours. 24 lines of text, ruled in red, written in Latin in angular gothic book-hand script on animal vellum. Rubrics in red. (Size 178 x 125mm – 7 x 5 inches). 

France: Rouen, (Use of Rouen) c. 1470-90. 

One three-line illuminated initial in red and white with a blue floral interior  on a gold ground; three two-line illuminated initials in liquid gold on red ground with gold penwork; two one-line illuminated initials and one illuminated line extender  in gold on red or blue ground.

Unusually vibrant and elaborate borders in colorful floral and geometric motif in red, green, blue and white on gold ground.       

Three-quarter miniature painting of The Presentation (also known as Candlemas) (verso) opens Hours of the Virgin – Hour of None. 

The Feast of Candlemas is traditionally the fortieth day of the Christmas-Epiphany season - February 2 in the modern calendar.

This event is described in the Gospel of Luke 2:22-40.  Forty days after the birth of Jesus, Mary & 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. The dramatic painting depicts Mary kneeling with hands clasped,  in front of the altar looking at Simeon, the High Priest with veiled hands, as he holds the unclothed Christ Child whose right arm reaches out towards his mother.  The white-draped altar rests beneath a gold-patterned red tent canopy. A young looking Joseph, holding a lit taper, stands with two females behind Mary; behind Simeon are two male attendants. Surrounding the miniature is a gold bar and lush floral motif on liquid gold ground.  

Text on recto concludes the Hours of the Cross – Hour of Sext. The two-line illuminated “D” begins: “Domine…” (O Lord Jesus Christ the Son of the living God, set Thy passion, cross, & death between Thy judgment & my soul, now, & in the hour of my death & vouchsafe to grant unto me grace & mercy: to the living & the dead rest & pardon: to Thy Church peace & concord, & to us sinners life & glory everlasting). 

A very attractive and nicely executed miniature in an exceptionally nice state of preservation.. The faces are paricularly pleasing, and the lavish use of gold highlights the design.

Presented in an archival 14 x 11'' mat

  • Inventory# IM-11869
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