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.
Lamentation (fol. 21v, left)
The dead Christ, removed from
the empty cross in the background, lies in his pious mother's
lap; the pair is flanked by John
the Evangelist and Mary
Poyer's composition accentuates the Virgin's sorrow at her
son's bloody death and emphasizes her role as intercessor
between humans and God.
The prayer accompanying this
miniature is this book's only text
in the vernacular, French, and
was composed particularly for
Anne de Bretagne. In the prayer
Anne addresses the Virgin in a
personal way, seeking protection from those who might harm
her and from those who might
usurp her possessions.