St. Gabriel the Archangel
Prayer Book of Anne de Bretagne
Illuminated by Jean Poyer
126 x 80 mm
The Pierpont Morgan Library, Purchased in 1905
MS M.50 (fol. 27v)
This prayer book was commissioned by Anne de Bretagne, wife of two successive kings of France, Charles VIII and Louis XII, to teach her son, the dauphin Charles-Orland (1492–1495), his catechism. It was painted in Tours by Jean Poyer, an artist documented as working for the queen. The book is richly illustrated, and its thirty-four airy, light-flooded miniatures are among the most delicate examples of late-fifteenth-century art.
St. Gabriel the Archangel (fol. 27v, left)
Poyer depicts St. Gabriel in a robe and gold sash holding a scepter topped with a fleur-de- lis, signifying the archangel as a special protector of the French.
The Suffrage to Gabriel emphasizes the archangel's role in mankind's salvation at the moment of the Incarnation and alludes to his role as weigher of souls at the Last Judgment.