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Leaf from a Book of Hours

Attributed to the Rohan Master or immediate circleabout 1410 - 1430

The J. Paul Getty Museum

The J. Paul Getty Museum

This magnificent leaf is from an otherwise lost manuscript that may have never been completed, as the leaf features unfinished miniatures on both sides. The front of the leaf likely depicts the refusal of the offering of Joachim and Anna at the Temple. According to Christian legend, when Joachim and Anna approached the Temple with an animal sacrifice on a feast day, they were turned away by the high priest, based on their childless, and therefore, unfavored state in the eyes of God. The story is represented as an elaborate scene of chaos and disruption, with figures, animals, and complex architecture weaving around the text and the sides of the page to its center. Soon after their refusal at the Temple, Joachim and Anna were blessed with a child, the Virgin Mary, and it is likely that this image faced a full-page miniature depicting the Annunciation to the Virgin.

The large size of the leaf as well as the unusual imagery and the inclusion of additional scenes depicting the Creation on the reverse side indicate that it was intended for a particularly elaborate and lavish prayer book. Although it remains unknown who commissioned the piece, the artist has been identified as the Rohan Master or an artist closely associated with him; the vigorous style and many of the individual figural groupings and architectural forms are closely linked to other works he completed.

The drawing technique, which ranges from suggestive to forceful, helps to draw out expression and emotion. In its unfinished state, the image reveals the working methods of the artist, emphasizing the equal role of drawing and painting in the creative process.

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  • Title: Leaf from a Book of Hours
  • Creator: Attributed to the Rohan Master or immediate circle
  • Date: about 1410 - 1430
  • Location Created: Paris, France
  • Physical Dimensions: Leaf: 26 x 18.5 cm (10 1/4 x 7 5/16 in.)
  • External Link: Find out more about this object on the Museum website.
  • Medium: Tempera colors, gold, and ink on parchment
  • Source Credit Line: The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, Ms. 112
  • Object Type: Detached leaf
  • Object Status: Permanent Collection
  • Number: Ms. 112
  • Inscription: In pencil in the upper margin of the verso
  • Display Location: Not currently on view
  • Department: Manuscripts
  • Culture: French
  • Classification: Manuscripts

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