Fol. 4v-5

Jean Poyer

The Apostle Philip and the Prophet Amos
The Apostle Bartholomew and the Prophet Malachi

Prayer Book of Anne de Bretagne
Illuminated by Jean Poyer

France, Tours
ca. 1492–95
126 x 80 mm

The Pierpont Morgan Library, Purchased in 1905

MS M.50 (fol. 4v–5r)
Item description: 

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.

Page description: 

The Apostle Philip and the Prophet Amos (fol. 4v, left)

Holding the tau T-shaped cross upon which he was bound and stoned to death and with which he revived a dead boy, Philip encounters Amos above the sixth Article of Faith from the Apostles' Creed, which appropriately discusses Christ's resurrection.

The same cross that Poyer depicts as Philip's attribute also refers to the one by which Philip banished a serpent that people were worshiping in Scythia, where the Apostle had brought the Gospel. The angry priests of the serpents martyred Philip upon that cross.

The Apostle Bartholomew and the Prophet Malachi (fol. 5, right)

While looking at the book of the New Testament in Bartholomew's hand, Malachi unfurls a scroll as the figures appear to contemplate each other's words.

The curved knife in Bartholomew's hand refers to the instrument used by barbarians in India and Greater Armenia— where the Apostle preached the Gospel—to slice and remove his skin.