(France [probably Rouen]: ca. 1475). 152 x 110 mm. (6 x 4 1/2"). Verso with 19 lines of text in a fine batarde hand.

Matted. Rubrics in blue, line enders, six one-line initials in gold on blue or red ground, one two-line and one three-line initial in white scroll-work on gold ground and embellished with flowers, A HALF-PAGE MINIATURE framed by two gold columns and rounded arch and SURROUNDED BY A LUSH FULL BORDER INCORPORATING TWO CHARMING CREATURES as well as acanthus leaves and diamond shapes filled with gold and flowers, verso with a single border in a similar style. A few small chips of paint (including one chip to the Virgin's halo, but IN NEAR PERFECT CONDITION.

This beautifully rendered miniature can be attributed to the workshop of the Master of Robert Gaguin, and, in any case, it is full of charm. In our painting, the high priest Simeon holds the Christ Child on a long altar while the Virgin kneels before them in prayer. A handmaiden stands behind her, carrying a basket of turtledoves as a sacrificial offering. Although Christ often appears frightened in these scenes, He is here depicted as quite serene, reaching back toward His mother in a gesture that suggests both reverence and the closeness of their bond. Named for his work on an exquisite copy of Robert Gaguin's translation of "De Bello Gallico" presented to King Charles VIII, our eponymous artist is known for large historical works and occasionally Books of Hours made for members of the French royal circle. His style is close to that of the Master of Jacques of Besançon, although, as Avril and Reynaud note, the illuminations of the Master of Robert Gaguin tend to be more modern in appearance and less dependent on tradition. He was known to have collaborated with other prominent illuminators of the day and also worked with the publisher Antoine Vérard on illuminating special copies of printed editions for the wealthy elite.