Master of James IV of Scotland

1485 - 1526

The Master of James IV of Scotland was a Flemish manuscript illuminator and painter most likely based in Ghent, or perhaps Bruges. Circumstantial evidence, including several larger panel paintings, indicates that he may be identical with Gerard Horenbout. He was the leading illuminator of the penultimate generation of Flemish illuminators. The painter's name is derived from a portrait of James IV of Scotland which, together with one of his Queen Margaret Tudor, is in the Prayer book of James IV and Queen Margaret, a book of hours commissioned by James and now in Vienna. He has been called one of the finest illuminators active in Flanders around 1500, and contributed to many lavish and important books besides directing an active studio of his own.
Stylistically, the Master's miniatures are distinguished by their collections of robust and unidealized figures, set against colorful landscapes and detailed interiors. He had a knack for depicting narrative, and would frequently use obscure Biblical images when constructing his paintings; his scenes of daily life, designed for calendar illuminations, are considered particularly vivid.
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