The Virgin and Child Enthroned

Object Details

Title:

The Virgin and Child Enthroned

Artist/Maker(s):

Jean Fouquet (French, born about 1415 - 1420, died before 1481)

Culture:

French

Place(s):

Paris France Tours France (Place created)

Date:

1455

Medium:

Tempera colors, gold paint, gold leaf, and ink on parchment

Dimensions:

Leaf: 11.4 x 8.3 cm (4 1/2 x 3 1/4 in.)

Credit Line:

Partial gift of Gerald F. Borrmann

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In the second frontispiece image of this book of hours, the Virgin Mary and Jesus sit enthroned. On the facing page, the manuscript's patron Simon de Varie kneels in homage. Together these two miniatures function like a diptych, a two-part hinged altarpiece. The image of Varie in prayer before the Virgin testifies to his personal devotion to her. It is also particularly appropriate as an introduction to Varie's personal book of hours, for in reciting his prayers he pays homage to the Virgin, much as he is pictured in prayer before her.

Jean Fouquet's simple presentation gives this scene its grandeur. The Virgin and Child sit in three-quarter profile in a room defined only by its receding tile floor and deep red curtains. The Virgin's long golden hair, fine facial features, and narrow shoulders give her a youthful and delicate appearance, drawing on the contemporary ideal of female beauty. On the other hand, her erect posture and the fullness of her expansive robe convey a regal and powerful presence. Fouquet enlivened the dominant colors–shades of blue for the Virgin and Child's gowns and red for the wall hangings–with shimmering gold highlights.

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