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Northern France, ca 1410 - 174 x 123 mm (6 3/4 x 4 7/8"). Frame: 342 x 278 mm. (13 1/2 x 11"). Single column, five lines of text in a fine gothic book hand. In an attractive new dark wooden frame. Two one-line initials in burnished gold on blue and mauve backgrounds, one four-line "D" in blue and white on a pink and white ground, infilled with a circle of blue and red flowers on burnished gold, a thick bar of pink and blue highlighted with burnished gold extending from the initial to form a three-quarter frame for the text and miniature, A FULL BORDER OF SWIRLING HAIRLINE STEMS SUPPORTING burnished gold leaves and bezants, blue and pink flowers, and red strawberries, and WITH A LARGE AND VERY FINE ARCH-TOPPED MINIATURE OF THE ANNUNCIATION TO THE SHEPHERDS (measuring approximately 101 x 66 mm.), the scene set on a stylized hillside beneath a starry sky, with four sheep peacefully grazing while the two rather grandly dressed shepherds gaze up in awe at a red-winged angel bearing a banner reading "Gloria in excelsis" and pointing a long forefinger toward Bethlehem. Small triangular chip to left edge (not affecting decoration), paint and gilt slightly rubbed on the bars and initials, but A VERY FINE LEAF, the vellum smooth, clean, and bright, and THE BEAUTIFULLY EXECUTED MINIATURE EXTREMELY WELL PRESERVED--richly colored, and with paint and gold entirely intact. This is an especially attractive leaf from what was no doubt a luxurious prayer book. The top third of the scene is dominated by the deep blue firmament studded with many six-pointed gold stars, and the head and shoulders of the angel seem to appear in the sky as through a curtain. There is a firmness of purpose in the angel's directive, but the serenity of heaven's power prevails in its messenger, a noticeable contrast with the confusion and animation in the lower part of the scene. The shepherds, who (oddly) are dressed more like merchants than peasants, are obviously awestruck by the apparition above. Their hands are thrown up as if to defend themselves or shield their eyes from a bright light, and their faces reflect fear and consternation. Their sheep, by contrast, seem unfazed by the wonders above: two are lying down with pleased expressions on their faces, while another grazes, and the fourth rubs affectionately against the staff of the shepherd on the right. The receding hills painted in various greens give depth to the scene, and one shepherd's bright orange leggings and undersleeve provide a pop of color. The general composition and the balance of colors here are obviously sophisticated, and the artist demonstrates a high level of artistic ability--for example in the deft painting of the faces.
      [Bookseller: Phillip J. Pirages Rare Books (ABAA)]
Last Found On: 2013-11-29           Check availability:      AbeBooks    


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