St. Hubert Worshiping the Miraculous Stag
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. 29)
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. Hubert Worshiping the Miraculous Stag (fol. 29, right)
Hubert, an eighth-century nobleman, went hunting on Good Friday instead of going to church and had an immediate conversion when a shining crucifix appeared between a stag's antlers.
The stag, an animal that continually sheds and grows its antlers, often appears in art as a symbol of creation and renewal, themes exemplified by Christ.
The lush forest setting and wide range of animals depicted in this miniature reveal Poyer's artistic mastery of the natural world.
St. Hubert's cult in the Middle Ages was based on the protection or cure he provided from rabies for both humans and dogs used in the chase.