Monday, June 16, 2014

MIRACLES IN MINIATURE 16th Century Books (c) by Polly Guerin

What treasures await you but to visit the Morgan Library & Museum's "Miracles in Miniature"exhibition that features a diminutive Prayer Book and Book of Hours created in the early sixteenth century in the French city of Tours.
   Forgotten for centuries, one of the greatest artists who came to be known as the  Master of Claude de France was named after two jewel-like manuscripts he painted for Queen Claude de France (1499-1524), first wife of King Francois I: a tiny Book of Hours and an even tinier Prayer Book to be held in the palm of her hand.
   The art of the Master of Claude de France is of such extraordinary quality it is almost impossible to imagine how it was executed with such delicacy of hand, illuminated in gold and beautiful colors.This is the first time the public can see these two stunning treasure together since their creation almost five hundred years ago.
  The artist was known  for a style of the utmost delicacy and his signature palette of subtle lilacs, mauves, and roses, juxtaposed with chartreuse and royal blue, the printing so tiny you should ask to borrow a magnifying glass from the Museum's information desk, in order to study the works more closely.
   The exhibition includes not only the two eponymous books, but also a selection of addition works of Claude Master, notably twelve calendar miniatures along with manuscripts by Jean Bourdichon, Claude Master's teacher, and by Jean Poyer and Jacques Ravaud, two artists active in tours who influenced him.
   The Prayer Book contains Claude's coat of arms three times and nearly every page is framed by a decorative cordeliere, a personal emblem that she inherited from her mother, Queen, Anne d Bretagne. Both books exhibit a sense of delicacy, but bright hues, and charming doll-like figures and his borders a filled with flowers, antique candelabras, or Italianate architectural elements.  All 132 scenes from the Prayer Book are viewable on a special screen installed in the gallery. In addition, each image will be available on an online exhibition on the Morgan's website. The exhibition is accompanied by a 104-page, fully illustrated monograph written by Morgan curator Roger Wieck, with a contribution by Morgan conservator Franciso Trujillo.
   Twelve Calendar Miniatures includes twelve charming vignettes of the Labors of the Months surmounted by the Signs of the Zodiac.Calendars were often illustrated with a suite showing agrarian activities appropriate to the month of season. Thus, January shows a couple feasting and, in February, a man warming himself by the fire.  April is illustrated by a scene of two youths falconing, and so it goes on and in June and July, the serfs are mowing and reaping in exquisite color and delicacy of artist's style.
   Ta Ta darlings!!! Take a summer break and visit Master of Claude de France's books and works of incredible artistry. Fan mail welcome Visit Polly's Blogs on fashion, visionary men, hidden treasures in new york and amazing women determined to succeed, and poetry at

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