Search collection catalog »
E-NEWS Facebook logo Twitter logo Google logo YouTube





Exhibitions | Current

Miracles in Miniature: The Art of the Master of Claude de France
May 30 through September 14, 2014

Month of May, from an Album of Calendar Miniatures
France, Tours, ca. 1517-20
Illuminated by the Master of Claude de France
74 x 68 mm
Purchased as the gift of the Virginia M. Schirrmeister Charitable Lead Trust, Mrs. Alexandre P. Rosenberg, Gifford Combs, James H. Marrow, Melvin R. Seiden, Salle Vaughn, and Sotheby's, and on the E. Clark Stillman Fund, in memory of Charles Ryskamp, 2010; MS M.1171, fol. 5

Catalogue thumbnail
Purchase catalogue
See The Prayer Book of Claude de France online »

The Master of Claude de France was one of the last great French illuminators. His was a fine and delicate style, characterized by the use of subtle lilacs, mauves and roses, juxtaposed with chartreuse and royal blue—all applied in tiny, almost invisible brushstrokes. The Claude Master flourished in Tours (in the Loire valley) for only about twelve years (ca. 1508-1520), leaving behind a small but exceptional oeuvre.

Over the last several years, the Morgan has acquired a critical mass of the Claude Master's work, of which nearly two dozen items will be featured in this exhibition. The centerpiece is the Prayer Book of Claude de France, one of two tiny, jewel-like manuscripts that he painted for the queen of France and after which the artist was named. The Prayer Book was a personal commission by Queen Claude (first wife of King François I) around the time of her coronation in 1517. The manuscript measures a mere 2 ¾ by 2 inches, but it includes an amazing 132 miniatures. Encoded within the tiny book are images that reflect the queen's private anxieties, including her fear that she might have inherited from her mother, Anne de Bretagne (twice queen of France), the inability to bear healthy sons. Visitors will have the opportunity to access all of the Prayer Book's miniatures via an iPad in the gallery.

Also on view will be twelve newly discovered calendar miniatures by the Claude Master, which the Morgan recently acquired. These works will be complemented by loans from private collectors and from the Free Library of Philadelphia. The public will see—for the first time in 500 years—Claude's Prayer Book reunited with her Book of Hours, loaned to the show by Herbert Tenschert. Manuscripts by Jean Bourdichon, the Claude Master's teacher, and by Jean Poyer and Jacques Ravaud, two artists active in Tours who influenced him, will also be displayed.

This exhibition is made possible by Frances Beatty and Allen Adler, Caroline Sharfman Bacon, and an anonymous donor, with assistance from the Visiting Committee to the Department of Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts. The accompanying publication is underwritten by the Andrew W. Mellon Research and Publications Fund.

Related Programs:

Schola Antiqua of Chicago
Sunday, June 15, 2 p.m.

Gallery Talk
Miracles in Miniature: The Art of the Master of Claude de France
Friday, June 6, 6:30 p.m.

« See all current exhibitions

Top of page

© The Morgan Library & Museum, 225 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10016, (212) 685-0008

Home Museum »
Visit the Museum
Public Programs
Collection »
Collection highlights
Online Exhibitions
Music Manuscripts Online
The Drawing Institute
CORSAIR Collection Catalog
Research »
CORSAIR Collection Catalog
Research Services
Reading Room
Research Guides
The Drawing Institute
Photography & Rights
About »
History of the Morgan
The Morgan Campus
Support »
Make a Donation
Corporate Membership
Corporate Entertaining
Shop Contact

E-News | Site Index | Terms and Conditions

The programs of The Morgan Library & Museum are made possible with public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, and by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.

Background images: Photography by Todd Eberle unless otherwise noted. © 2006 Todd Eberle.