- Art of the Book
Book of Hours
France, ca. 1450-1460
This prayer book, used in the private cult, was probably produced in the Loire region. All the folios are richly decorated with paintings attributed to an artist whose style is close to that of the Master of Jouvenel des Ursins. They include numerous full-page miniatures, historiated capitals and borders decorated with delicate branches and gilded arabesques. The latter also hold small paintings showing fantastical beasts or scenes that illustrate the accompanying texts.
The central theme of the painting on folio 83v is The Betrayal, with Judas kissing Christ so as to identify him to the soldiers. Three other related scenes appear to support the theme: Judas receiving the thirty pieces of silver, the Washing of the Feet, and the Last Supper. The interior of the letter D shows the culmination of the scene with Judas, overcome by remorse, hanging from a fig tree.
We do not know for whom this book was produced. However, the figure of a woman at prayer that appears in the lower border of folio 147r, below the miniature ofThe Virgin and Child, may be an allusion to its owner.
H. Bordes [ex-libris]; Frédéric Engel-Gros, Château de Ripaille, Thonon, Savoy; Acquired by Calouste Gulbenkian, through Henri Leclerc at Frédéric Engel-Gros’s estate sale, Georges Petit, Paris, on June 2, 1921, (no. 3).
Calouste Gulbenkian Museum – Album, Lisbon, Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, 2001, p. 88, no. 64, colourpl.
New York 1999
“Only the Best”. Masterpieces of the Calouste Gulbenkian Museum, Lisbon, exhibition catalogue, Katharine Baetjer e James David Draper (eds.) – New York (The Metropolitan Museum of Art), 1999, p. 36-37, no. 14, ils.