Oct 16, 2012
Oct 16, 2012

Leaf from a Book of Hours: Adoration of the Magi

Leaf from a Book of Hours: Adoration of the Magi

c. 1440–50

Ink, tempera and gold on vellum

Leaf: 20.2 x 14.4 cm (7 15/16 x 5 11/16 in.)

The Jeanne Miles Blackburn Collection 2011.60



The artist of this miniature takes his name from a Book of Hours made for Thomas, Lord Hoo, chancellor of Normandy and of France, a volume now in the British Library, London. The Master of Thomas Hoo originally worked in Paris and then perhaps moved upstream to Rouen, following the retreat of the English armies during their occupation of France in the Hundred Years War. His style is characterized by a rich palette, lush draperies, and finely delineated landscapes. Gold leaf was thickly applied and the artist generally used liquid gold to highlight the hems of his figures' refined and elegant garments. The Adoration of the Magi, an important image in Christian tradition, recalls the first gentiles to recognize Christ. Just as the Three Magi often represent the three ages of man-youth, maturity, and old age-so their gifts had symbolic reference to key aspects of Christ's life. Gold symbolized his kingship; frankincense his priesthood; and myrhh, being used for embalming, stood for his Passion and death. Follower of the Master of Adélaïde de Savoie (France, probably Poitiers)

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