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Guide The Life of Marie de Medicis — Volume 2

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Not so in the Burgundian Netherlands, where a fresh though final flowering of book illumination began, which gained high recognition well beyond its regional borders.

Rubens, The Presentation of the Portrait of Marie de' Medici

The great demand for Flemish manuscript painting was an inspiration for the illuminators who kept competing with one another, forever creating novel features. For the first one hundred years, its history remains in the dark. Her failed coup against Cardinal Richelieu in led to her being banished from France.


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She escaped to Brussels and Amsterdam where the opulent book of hours passed into her possession. She travelled to Cologne where she spent the final years until her death in The book of hours remained there until , when it was acquired by the English manuscript collector Francis Douce who in bequeathed it to the Bodleian Library in Oxford. Stundenbuch der Maria von Medici.

Walters Ms. W.494, Lace Book of Marie de' Medici

Every miniature of the Flemish Book of Hours of Marie de Medici evokes the sheer pleasure the miniaturist must have felt as he illustrated the narrative scenes and set up the figural groupings. His style is particularly characterized by dynamic compositions and the combination of brilliant colours.

Rubens, Arrival (or Disembarkation) of Marie de Medici at Marseilles, Medici Cycle

The David Scenes Master not only depicted the subject of the main miniature, but also aimed at telling as many stories as possible in one illustration. He therefore created a unified pictorial space involving the main picture and its frame, which consisted of intricate architectural borders. They feature scenes drawn from the Bible or the Golden Legend to help elaborate and comment on the narrative of the main miniature.


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The representation on fol. The main miniature shows John the Baptist in the desert, carrying a book.


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He points at the lamb which holds a flag with a cross on it. The lamb stands in a path leading to a river, where a baptism is being performed. The lamb symbolizes Christ whom John baptized in the Jordan River.

The Life of Marie de Medicis, Vol. 2 (of 3) by Julia Pardoe - Full Text Free Book

Below on the left, he is led out of the prison tower. Raising his hands in prayer, he then has to kneel down to be decapitated by the executioner. The illumination in both the manuscript and the facsimile radiates a timeless beauty and creates a very special atmosphere. The miniatures, highly detailed and reminiscent of panel paintings, featuring borders shimmering with gold, fascinate the viewer by drawing him or her into the magical imagery of Flemish book illumination.

Douce Date of Origin: c. Kidd Print run: copies.

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The text of the prayer is illustrated by a small square miniature showing the Virgin Mary and St. John at the foot of the hill of Golgotha. A bench furnished with cushions is depicted in the architectural border below, inviting the reader and viewer to linger. The outer margins of the text pages fols. The main miniatures fols.