Commentary in English and German. Magnifying glass included.
This is how the enthusiastic manuscript expert and Morgan curator Roger S. Wieck describes this charmingly painted manuscript that reached the interest of the public only in 2008 by means of a private donation to the Pierpont Morgan Library, New York. Created around 1517, the Prayer Book of Claude de France is a painted gem, illustrated throughout, one of the most famous manuscripts made for the royal court of France.
The personalized prayer book of the French queen Claude de France enchants us especially by its delicate paintings in a charmingly small format of 69x49 mm, and even more so by the unusual wealth of illustration it contains. The namesake master of Claude de France composed a continuous round of full-page and partly even double-page miniatures, surmounted by a small field of text. And even these inscribed areas are now and then cut open to show even more of the picture: a coat flattering wildly in the wind, an emphatic gesture with the arm, or wide landscape vistas to additionally enliven the compositions. With this trick, the master of Claude de France managed to accommodate 132 lively scenes from the life of Christ and the Virgin Mary, the apostles, and various saints.
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Hans Memling: Portraiture, Piety, and a Reunited Altarpiece