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
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.