749. [Miniature - France]

[Nursing Madonna.

Normandy, c. 1490]

Miniature painting, 18,8 x 11,3 cm, vellum 21,4 x 14,4 cm from a Book of Hours; prayer "Obsecro te Domina Sancta Maria" written in golden ink on purple background in lower part, continued on verso in brown ink (old traces of binding in the left margin, several scratches and sl. dampstains on the bodies).

Beautiful half-length colourful representation of the breastfeeding Virgin dressed in blue, green and pink, her head bearing a crown decorated with matching cabochons and surrounded by a gilt aureole inscribed "Ave Maria gracia plena". She stands near a balustrade decorated with a piece of sumptuous purple and gilt brocade repeated on her back and she is surrounded by two gilt carved columns; in the background, in dark blue, a chapel with similar columns.
The artist obviously finds his inspiration in Flemish painting and especially in the circle of Rogier van der Weyden (c. 1400-1464), adapting clumsily the position of the child of his "Madonna enthroned" (Lugano, coll. Thyssen). This type of architectural composition was introduced in France c. 1470 and was widely used in the Rouen illumination from Robert Boyvin (c. 1470-after 1536, fl. 1488-). Our miniature is probably by or influenced by
the Master of the Lisieux Book of Hours, recognisable i.a. by his characteristic gazes with half-closed eyelids or by the adult face of the Child. The Lisieux Master is known by 3 other Books of Hours; this illumination inspired by a Flemish pattern is evidence that a 4th Book of Hours existed.
Ref. Extensive French description with references on request.
Prov. H. Helbing (catalogue, Frankfurt, 1933, n. 39).

€ 4.500 / 5.500

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