The Annunciation
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Follower of the Boucicaut Master
French, Paris, about 1410
Tempera colors, gold leaf, and gold paint on parchment
7 1/2 x 5 1/2 in.

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This sumptuous page, whose border features a shimmering background of gold, music-making angels, and colorful flowers, is the most richly decorated in the entire manuscript. The reason for such a lavish display of color and gold is that this folio marks the beginning of the most important text in a book of hours, the Office of the Virgin. Appropriately, the subject matter of the miniature is the moment, as recounted in the Bible, when Mary receives the news from the archangel Gabriel that she will bear the son of God. The scene is set within a church. Mary, kneeling before an altar on which a book and two candles stand, turns toward the angel to hear his words. A lily grows from a small pot to the left, a symbol of Mary's purity.