Art/ Collection/ Art Object

The Right Hand of God Protecting the Faithful against the Demons

Jean Fouquet (French, Tours ca. 1425–ca. 1478 Tours)
ca. 1452–1460
Tempera and gold leaf on parchment
leaf: 7 5/8 x 5 3/4 in. (19.4 x 14.6 cm)
Manuscripts and Illuminations
Credit Line:
Robert Lehman Collection, 1975
Accession Number:
Not on view
The "Hours of Étienne Chevalier" is one of the most famous and lavishly illuminated manuscripts of the fifteenth century. It was painted for the treasurer of France by Jean Fouquet, court artist to kings Charles VII and Louis XI, who worked not only as a miniaturist but also as a panel painter. The Lehman miniature decorates the page that contains the opening words of the evening prayer (vespers) for the Hours of the Holy Spirit. It shows the faithful standing in the foreground on a terrace, looking up at the hand of God, as demons flee to the left and right. The subject is highly unusual, as is the topographically accurate depiction of medieval Paris, in which the cathedral of Notre Dame, the spire of Saint-Chapelle, the Pont Saint-Michel, and other monuments of the Île de la Cité (including the Hôtel de Nesle, where the figures stand) are immediately recognizable.
Inscription: [under the miniature, the opening line of the prayer at vespers of the Holy Spirit] Deus in adiutorium meum intende domine ad adiutum
Étienne Chevalier (ca. 1410–1474); Nicolas Chevalier, baron of Crissé (1562–1630); his nephew by marriage, the seigneur of Longeuil; Louis Fenoulhet, Shoreham, Sussex, England; sale, Sotheby's, London, December 18, 1946, lot 568; acquired by Robert Lehman in 1946
Sandra Hindman, Chicago, Mirella Levi D'Ancona, Pia Palladino, and Maria Francesca Saffiotti. "Illuminations." Robert Lehman Collection. IV, New York, 1997, pp. 26-38, no. 4.

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