1480. Paris: c. 1480.
150 cm x 98 cm. Slight wear to inner margin, small hole in text portion. In an elaborate gold frame.
§ Arch-toped miniature showing the Virgin in blue holding the Child and a fruit, seated on a donkey, Joseph in front with a staff, a maidservant with basket behind, set in a landscape with city, an idol toppling from a column, and a full-page border with sprays of swirling blue and gold acanthus, red, blue and white flowers, on a paneled liquid gold and white ground, inhabited by a duck-faced Grotesque, with four lines of text in gothic bookhand with three-line opening initial with blue and mauve staves against a ground of burnished gold.
Though not showing his trademark architectural frames, the subtle drapery folds, porcelain complexions, fine features and especially the fur-like, horizontally banded long runs of hair, in dark gold or gray, as well as the balanced composition, betray the influence, if not the hand, of the Master de Jacques de Besancon, whose dated works range from 1485 to 1498 and who took over both the style and the patrons of his predecessor Maitre Francois, active by 1473. The miniature includes the apocryphal detail from Pseudo-Matthew associated with the Flight into Egypt, showing an idol toppling from its column.
On another miniature that survives from the same book, showing the Adoration of the Magi, there is a manger which derives from a model also used by the Master of Jean Rolin in a Nativity around 1450. Jean Rolin was probably the master of Maitre Francois, an artist with whom the Master de Jacques de Besancon has often been confused. These latter two, however, were without doubt the most sought after miniaturists in Paris in the last quarter of the 15th century. Item #122868