Title:Miniature from a Book of Hours with Virgin and Christ ChildArtist:Attributed to Jean Poyer
Formerly attributed to Jean Poyer Date:c. 1490-1500Creation Place:Europe, France, ToursCredit Line:The William Hood Dunwoody FundAccession Number:14.12
Bound books of illuminated manuscripts have seldom survived intact. Often they have been dismantled for sale as individual sheets. The irregular size of this page indicates that it was cut from a Book of Hours and then suffered even further trimming.
This miniature is a full-page illustration, framed in the manner of an easel or panel painting. The practice of isolating a large miniature from its textual content was an innovation of the Loire school of illuminators centered in Tours in the fifteenth century, reflecting the increasing popularity of panel painting. As a result, many miniatures no longer fulfilled their original role of enhancing the written word, but were now independent works modeled on the compositions and descriptive detail of large-scale paintings. This Madonna and Child miniature has been attributed to Jean Poyet, active in Tours from 1483 to 1497, who executed commissions for Queen Anne of Brittany and other royal patrons. The Virgin offers the standing Christ Child a pink, or carnation, symbolizing love. Behind them, three angels make music with a lute, a recorder and a rebec, a medieval pear-shaped, stringed instrument played with a bow.