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Leaf from a Book of Hours
Attributed to the Rohan Master or immediate circle (French, active about 1410 - 1440)
Paris, France (Place Created)
Tempera colors, gold, and ink on parchment
Ms. 112 (2014.56)
Leaf: 26 × 18.5 cm (10 1/4 × 7 5/16 in.)
This magnificent leaf is from an otherwise lost manuscript that may have never been completed, as the leaf features unfinished miniatures on both sides. The front of the leaf likely depicts the refusal of the offering of Joachim and Anna at the Temple. According to Christian legend, when Joachim and Anna approached the Temple with an animal sacrifice on a feast day, they were turned away by the high priest, based on their childless, and therefore, unfavored state in the eyes of God. The story is represented as an elaborate scene of chaos and disruption, with figures, animals, and complex architecture weaving around the text and the sides of the page to its center. Soon after their refusal at the Temple, Joachim and Anna were blessed with a child, the Virgin Mary, and it is likely that this image faced a full-page miniature depicting the Annunciation to the Virgin.
The large size of the leaf as well as the unusual imagery and the inclusion of additional scenes depicting the Creation on the reverse side indicate that it was intended for a particularly elaborate and lavish prayer book. Although it remains unknown who commissioned the piece, the artist has been identified as the Rohan Master or an artist closely associated with him; the vigorous style and many of the individual figural groupings and architectural forms are closely linked to other works he completed.
The drawing technique, which ranges from suggestive to forceful, helps to draw out expression and emotion. In its unfinished state, the image reveals the working methods of the artist, emphasizing the equal role of drawing and painting in the creative process.
Unknown [sold, "I maison de ventes Delorme & Collin du Bocage", Hôtel Drouot, Paris, June 11, 2014, lot 232, to the J. Paul Getty Museum.]
Touching the Past: The Hand in the Medieval Book (July 7 to September 27, 2015) (recto)
- The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), July 7 to September 27, 2015
Hôtel Drouot Montaigne, Paris. "L'Élection de l'agneau: Enluminure dans la tradition des frères Limbourg." July 11, 2014, no. 232, ill., cover ill.
Illumination: Die Zeitschrift für Buchkunst aus Simbach 1 (October 2014), pp. 14-27, figs. 10, 12.
Morrison, Elizabeth. "Une acquisition du Musée J. Paul Getty, une découverte." Art de l'enluminure, no. 52 (Mar-May 2015), pp. 70-75, ill.