SPANISH FORGER

(active Paris, c. 1890s to 1930s?)
Seated Queen with Female Saint and Falconer (235 x 144 mm.)
Tempera and gold leaf on parchment
France, probably Paris, perhaps after 1925

A SENTIMENTAL SCENE BY THE NOTORIOUS MEDIEVAL FORGER

This leaf is typical of a group of large miniatures painted by the Spanish Forger. In this miniature an enthroned and crowned queen in a red and ermine-lined dress gestures towards a man holding a falcon and a female saint holding (or presenting) a book. The scene is set in a tiled courtyard near a castle gate with rounded arch. The composition of these three figures has no clear iconographic basis – the Forger often painted courtly scenes with staged encounters and royal presentations. W. Voelkle notes that the Spanish Forger must have responded to the taste of the period for initials cut from manuscripts when he painted single leaves. Unmasked in 1930 by Belle da Costa Green, then director of the Pierpont Morgan Library, the Spanish Forger is known today as one of the “most skillful and successful and prolific forgers of all times.” 

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