Discover who's hiding behind those trees!
'The Hours of Marguerite d'Orléans'.
Another fascinating French books of hours, where I could stare for hours at just one page discovering the finesse of these images. This manuscript was made for Marguerite d'Orléans, and not unlike other contemporary French breviaries, the artist makes sure to fill the whole page with delicate figures, golden initials and vivid colors.
In this one, the fauna strikes me for being particularly present in the visual commentaries to the main biblical stories, not just as symbols but in their constant interaction with the florid environment. I love how the illustrator also creates temporal stories around the main illustrated pages, reflecting the mood of the main picture in the typically costumbrist elements of the book of hours.
Musical instruments are part of this interactive relationship with this natural environment, creating a counterpoint to the music heard by the many birds. Together with singing angels, in this first part of the manuscript, organs appear to have a certain prominence. Although there seems to be some faded details in their pipes and keys, there's an effort to create the impression of a large quantity in both of them (at first sight I thought that one of the organs had a chekker-style keyboard). In this first part of the manuscript, two positive organs are played by angels: one of them being played (while singing) in a church setting behind the image of The Annunciation of Gabriel to Mary, and the other one with two angels appearing from in between the clouds above The Coronation of the Virgin.
The detail of the figures does not seem to be the main focus in the artist, but managing to give them liveliness. Non of the marginal figures shouts at you, but are present, important and dynamic.
FRANCE, (1426 -1438)
Horae ad usum romanum
Of Marguerite d'Orléans,
Paris, Bibliotheque nationale, fonds latin 1156B