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.
Anne de Bretagne at Confession (fol. 10v, left)
Anne is shown at confession,
kneeling, not in a wooden
enclosure but beside her confessor, who leans toward her
to hear her whispered sins.
The miniature illustrates the
Act of Confession.
Private devotional books were
often personalized with portraits
of the individual who commissioned them. The fact that Anne
is shown as a sinner indicates
that she personally commissioned this book, for no one
would have dared to give the
queen a book that represented
her in this way.
Poyer paints Anne wearing the
Breton cap, which signified her
ties to her homeland of Brittany,
and dress in maroon, a favorite
color of the queen.