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Paris workshop - Leaf with a miniature of St. Matthew from a Book of Hours on vellum.

Paris workshop - Leaf with a miniature of  St. Matthew  from a Book of Hours on vellum.
Leaf with a miniature of St. Matthew from a Book of Hours on vellum. - Paris workshop
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Title : Leaf with a miniature of St. Matthew from a Book of Hours on vellum..
Map maker : Paris workshop.
Date : Paris, ca. 1500.
Size : 6.3 x 4.1 inches. / 16.0 x 10.3 cm.
Colouring : original

Description :A very handsome panel miniature within the text (25 lines, Burgundian letter), framed by a 3/4 border, in an experienced Parisian style. The saint seems to listen carefully to the angel's advice, with his eyes half closed. The figures have delicate faces with straight noses and small mouths. The garment Matthew is wearing is full of liquid gold highlighting. Behind him hangs a blue cloth of honour, dotted with clusters of gold dots. One liquid gold dentelle initial on red ground completes the lay-out.
The border consists of blue and gold acanthus leaves on variously coloured ground (dark brown, burgundian red and blue) incorporating large medallions with flowers or strawberries on a liquid gold ground. A similar panel border is visible on the verso.

The style is typical of manuscript illumination in Paris from around the turn into the 16th century. During the reign of Charles VIII and Louis XII book illumination in Paris was again a thriving part of the art trade. The kings and the royal household were now more frequently spending longer periods of time in the capital. Hence, the market for book illumination was ever expanding, with the unexpected contribution from the printers of incunabula.
The new technique to reproduce books on the printing press was still firmly based on medieval concepts of lay-out and illustration. One could draw the conclusion, therefore, that the art of illumination was moving simultaneously in opposite directions: the traditional way, influenced by the 'modern' standards of three dimensionality, Renaissance architecture, fashion and Flemish borders, rendered with the greatest perfection. And, illuminations made for the new medium, often influenced by the graphic qualities of woodcuts or even painted on top of woodcuts or engravings.
The two pivotal workshops in Paris belong to the Master of Jacques de Besançon (traditional) and the Master of Anne de Bretange (modern spirit).
The demand on their talents was such that they collaborated in several instances, also with other artists in the field. To get a clear view of single miniaturist's activities in Paris is therefore rather complicated, not in the least because of external influences from other important centres such as Rouen, Bourges and Tours.
Cf. F. Avril & N. Reynaud, Les manuscrits à peintures en France, 1440-1520. Exhibit. Catalogue Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris, 1993/4. Paris 1993, p. 255.
Condition : The leaf was cropped at the top and to the far right hand side, somewhat reducing the borders.
Mounted and framed with glass.

ID: 99566

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