This leaf depicting the Presentation in the Temple originally comes from a manuscript known as the Hours of Louis XII. The miniature's artist, Jean Bourdichon, introduces the subject in a close-up, personal way. Here Mary is seen in half-length, situated at the front of the space, close to the viewer. We seem to peer over her shoulder at the scene of the presentation of her infant son at the altar of the priest Simeon. The purpose of compositions such as this one--which were increasingly popular in the second half of the 1400s--was to bring viewers physically closer to the narrative and actively engage them in the event being portrayed.
The Hours of Louis XII, so-called after its patron King Louis XII of France, was one of the greatest French manuscripts of its time. Only sixteen of the manuscript's original complement of miniatures have come to light, and the Getty has acquired three of them. The other two are a frontispiece depicting the king kneeling in prayer, and a depiction of Bathsheba Bathing.