An Exceptionally Fine, Uncommonly Seen Miniature of the Resurrected Christ, Attributable to the Master of Jean Rolin or the Dunois Master

(Paris: ca. 1460). 120 x 85 mm. (4 3/4 x 3 1/2").

Attractively matted. The verso WITH A FULL INHABITED BORDER featuring much acanthus and other vegetation and fruit as well as two small birds, the border FRAMING A RICHLY DETAILED ARCH-TOPPED ILLUMINATED MINIATURE OF CHRIST RISING FROM THE TOMB (measuring approximately 68 x 45 mm.), the scene showing Christ at the right with a sad, sensitive face and an emaciated body garbed in a filmy loincloth and scarlet cloak, one hand raised in blessing, the other holding the tall processional cross usual in this scene with a red banner attached, the empty sarcophagus cleverly angled across the middle of the scene so as to create the illusion of recession in space, two dozing soldiers in armor in the foreground, a third partially visible behind the sarcophagus, on the lid of which an angel has perched, and in the background the steep hills of Judea with a walled city, a forest, and two rock formations. One trivial (wax?) stain in the right border, small losses of paint here and there (including minor erosion in the faces of Christ and the angel), top edge of the border just grazed, otherwise very fine, the vellum fresh and bright, the paint rich, and the gold exceptionally lustrous.

This is a unusually fine miniature with an uncommon subject, from the workshop of a masterful painter. The tall figure of Christ, although placed slightly to one side, commands the viewer's attention because of the delicacy with which he is painted and the bright scarlet of his cloak. And this is just one feature of a painting that in every important way suggests an extremely high level of sophistication. The composition of the scene represents a considerable achievement in that the greatest narrative in Christendom is packed into a very small space in the foreground; the artist's choice of colors (especially the greens and reds) shows a wonderful feeling for consonance of hue; and the rendering of detail in such things as garments, the armor of the soldiers, and even the windows in the distant towers has been done with great skill and verisimilitude. There are elements here that suggest this miniature is the work of the Master of Jean Rolin or of the Dunois Master, but either pedigree is distinguished. Taking his name from the Book of Hours he produced for Jean d'Orléans, comte de Dunois, the celebrated Dunois Master was previously thought to be an extremely close follower and apprentice to the Bedford Master, whose real name may well have been Jean Haincelin; now he is generally thought to be Jean Haincelin the younger, the Bedford Master's son. The Dunois Master is also known to have painted the Hours of Admiral Prigent de Coëtivy (now in Dublin) and other major Books of Hours in the close style of the Bedford Master, and he collaborated with Jean Fouquet in the Hours of Simon de Varie (see R. Wieck and L. Castle, "Paths to Grace," 1991, p. 46, #17; and Avril and Reynaud, "Les Manuscrits à Peintures en France, 1440-1520," p. 37). Beyond its considerable aesthetic achievement, the present leaf is of interest because it is blank on the recto in the Flemish manner, even though it is definitely from a Parisian Book of Hours. And, finally, the Resurrection is a rare subject in Books of Hours--though it is occasionally found at the beginning of the Hours of the Cross (for example, a leaf by the Harvard Hannibal Master, Philadelphia Free Library, Lewis E M 9.9), or introducing the Office of the Dead (used by Jean Colombe for the Easter Mass in the "Très Riches Heures"), or at the beginning of the hours of the Holy Spirit (as in the Guyot Le Peley Hours at Troyes).

Keywords: Book of Hours

Add to Cart Price: $12,000.00

PJP Catalog: KZOO21.022