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Description

This leaf from a large Missal opens the Feast of Saint Mary Magdalene (July 22). It is decorated with a miniature of Mary Magdalene shown elegantly dressed and holding her unguent jar while standing on a tiled floor before a columned arcade that opens onto a landscape. The miniature is framed in liquid gold while the refined initials decorating the remainder of the leaf are in gold leaf, with a 4-line initial 'M' set on budding flowers.

This leaf and eight others (see sister leaves below) comes from a dismembered Missal most likely made for Guy de Baudreuil, a celebrated patron of the arts and commendatory abbot of the ancient monastery of Saint-Martin-aux-Bois from 1491/2 to 1530. According to Peterson and Stones the Missal originally comprised 135 leaves with 48 miniatures (1989, p. 31). Crowned red hearts over the initials decorated with white spiral motifs appear in numerous sister leaves and identify the Missal as Guy de Baudreuil's commission (Les Enluminures, Catalogue 18, p. 162). Other sister leaves omit the crowned heart. In addition to new edifices and carved choir stalls Guy de Baudreuil enriched Saint-Martin-aux-Bois and his family's estates with tapestries emblazoned with his arms. A tapestry fragment with the goddess Minerva shows the same arms at top and also includes crowned red hearts and spiraling banderoles around the borders echoing the hearts over the initials in the sister leaves. A tapestry fragment undoubtedly from Saint-Martin-aux-Bois with his arms is among four others now at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (see Salvatore Cavallo 1993, cat. no. 24).

The style of the miniature places it in the orbit of Jean Pichore and his workshop, active in Paris from around 1490 to 1521. Pichore headed a large family enterprise that illuminated a great number of classical, secular, and liturgical texts. A number of distinct hands, including the Master of Morgan 85 and the Master of Petrarch's Triumphs, were merged with the Pichore workshop in 2004 by Caroline Zöhl. A portrait of Guy de Baudreuil with his coat of arms attributed to an artist in the circle of Étienne Colaud, a painter strongly influenced by Pichore, appears in the presentation scene in a copy of Petrarch's Life of Hannibal translated into French by Simon Bourgoing. The present miniature of Mary Magdalene with a tiled floor and raised arcade cutting across the background can be compared to a presentation scene in a copy of the Roman de Palamon et Arcita of Anne de Graville, here attributed directly to Étienne Colaud's hand (Cousseau 2016, pp. 161-174). Similar elements appear in Pichore's designs for woodcuts in printed Books of Hours. Taken together, the style and design point to a follower of Pichore working in Paris. New research might very well uncover the identity of the artist(s) responsible or the Missal of Guy de Baudreuil.

The leaf is written on 26 lines in brown ink in a French bâtarde script with header and rubrics in red, with 1- and 2-line initials and one 4-line initial and line fillers in gold leaf on blue and brown grounds highlighted with white. The text on the recto contains prayers concluding the Feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, with the rubric and introit for the Feast of Saint Mary Magdalene beginning on the recto and continuing to the verso, with a long reading from Proverbs 31:10, beginning Mulierem fortem quis inveniet (Who shall find a valiant woman?). Recto inscribed in modern pencil in lower right corner "76."

Sister leaves

Presentation of the Virgin in the Temple, The Crowned Virgin and Child as "The Apocalyptic Woman Clothed in the Sun," the Annunciation, and Saint Martha (Dallas Public Library, Gift of Virginia Lazenby O'Hara; see White 2000)

Saint Nicholas (present location unknown)

Assumption of the Virgin (Private Collection; formerly Les Enluminures, Catalogue 15, no. 33)

Transfiguration (Pittsburgh, Carnegie Museum of Art, inv. no. 80.29; see Peterson and Stones 1989)

Funeral Scene, Office of the Dead (present location unknown, formerly Maggs Bros., 2002)

Literature

Unpublished. For comparisons see:

E. A. Peterson and M. A. Stones, "The Book Goes Public," Carnegie Magazine, March/April 1989, pp. 30-35.

F. Avril and N. Reynaud, Les manuscrits à peintures en France, 1440-1520, Paris, 1993.

A. Salvatore Cavallo, Medieval Tapestries at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 1993.

E. M. White, Spirit and Splendor: Art and Ideas in Sacred Books and Manuscripts, Dallas, 2000, cat. nos. 10-13, pp. 12-13 [exhibition catalogue].

J. P. Carley and M. D. Orth, "'Plus que assez': Simon Bourgouyn and his French Translations from Plutarch, Petrarch, and Lucian," Viator 14 (2003), pp. 328-363.

C. Zöhl, Jean Pichore: Buchmaler, Graphiker und Verleger in Paris um 1500, Turnhout, 2004.

B. de Chancel-Bardelot, France 1500: entre Moyen Âge et Renaissance, Paris, 2010, cat. no. 171.

Les Enluminures, Catalogue 15, France 1500: The Pictorial Arts at the Dawn of the Renaissance, Paris, New York, and Chicago, 2010, cat. no. 33.

Les Enluminures, Catalogue 18, Flowering of Medieval French Literature: "Au parler que m'aprist ma mere," Paris, New York, and Chicago, 2014, p. 162.

M.-B. Cousseau, Étienne Colaud et l'enluminure parisienne sous le règne de François Ier, Tours, 2016.

Online resources

Vie d'Hannibal, translated to French by Simon Bourgoing, with portrait of Guy de Baudreuil

Paris, BnF, MS NAF 25165

https://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/btv1b530948832/f5.item.zoom

 

Reference number: MIN-50316

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