Tuesday, September 7, 2021

The Medieval Books of Hours

 From Historia:

Medieval Books of Hours were far more than devotional aids; as beautiful, cherished objects they were a way for their creators and owners to experiment with miniature art and ideas, often carrying hidden messages. And, being made for private use, they had a special significance for women, the bestselling author Elizabeth Buchan explains. Two miniature paintings are at the centre of the mystery that drives her new novel, Two Women in Rome.

This boke is myne, Eleanor Worcester
An I yt lose, and yow yt fynd
I pray yow hartely to be so kynd
That yow well take a letil payne
To se my boke is brothe home agayne

(Inscription in a Book of Hours belonging to the Duchess of Worcester, c1440)

The figure of a naked woman bathing confronts the viewer full on. Her skin is pearly white, the hair streaming down her back is a golden abundance, the water shimmers silver. This is Bathsheba Bathing, one of the miniatures from Jean Bourdichon’s The Hours of Louis XII. (Read more.)


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