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Initial A: Gillion and Marie Gazing at a Mother Carp and Her Offspring
Tempera colors, gold, and ink on parchment
Leaf: 37 x 25.5 cm (14 9/16 x 10 1/16 in.)
This particular historiated initial A appears near the beginning of the manuscript and is one of forty-four in the entire book. The illustration within the letter depicts the knight Gillion deTrazegnies with his first wife, Marie. The pair appear at a double window, tenderly touching hands. It is a miniature showcase of artist's refined technique, from the carefully textured of the stonework seen on the walls to the delicate fabric fluttering from Marie's pointed hat, or henin. These details would have been familiar to the viewers of the manuscript as echoes of their own contemporary surroundings and fashion.
In the outdoor area pictured to the left of the building, the artist Lieven van Lathem manipulates color, light and perspective to suggest a landscape that extends deep into the background. The pale blues and greens that fade into a hazy horizon indicate his skill as a northern Renaissance landscape painter.