Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Manuscript Leaf with the Annunciation from a Book of Hours

Jean Bourdichon (French, 1457–1521 Tours)
ca. 1485–90
Made in Tours, France
Tempera and shell gold on parchment
Overall: 3 3/4 x 2 3/8 in. (9.6 x 6 cm)
mat size: 11 7/8 x 11 in. (30.2 x 27.9 cm)
collectors mark in lower right corner : 3/16 x 3/16 in. (0.5 x 0.5 cm)
Manuscripts and Illuminations
Credit Line:
Gift of Peter Sharrer, 2004
Accession Number:
Not on view
As part of a daily cycle of prayers in honor of the Virgin, Matins is habitually illustrated by an Annunciation, with the angel Gabriel announcing to Mary that she will bear the infant Jesus. Inhabitual, however, are details of this composition by Jean Bourdichon of Tours, the foremost illuminator to the court of France during the reigns of Louis XI, Charles VIII, Louis XII, and Francis I (1461-1547). Despite his magnificent wings, the angel appearing from the right with crossed arms seems less a heavenly apparition than a confidant. However, it is the golden light suffusing the scene that conveys an otherworldly aspect. Originally the image would have been framed by a floral border, partly visible at the upper left and upper right, and by the opening words of the prayers.
comtesse Martine de Béhague(until d. 1939); by descent to Octave Marie Hubert, marquis de Ganay(until d. 1974); by descent to Jean-Louis, marquis de Ganay(sold 1987); comtesse de Béhague sale, Sotheby's, Monaco(December 5, 1987, no. 153); [ Sam Fogg Ltd., London and Bruce Ferrini, Akron, Ohio (1988)]; [ Peter Sharrer, Hillsdale, New Jersey (1988-2004)]
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Recent Acquisitions: A Selection, 2004-2005." The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, n.s., 63, no. 2 (Fall 2005). p. 13.

Evans, Helen C., ed. The Philippe de Montebello Years: Curators Celebrate Three Decades of Acquisitions – Online Catalogue. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2008.

Related Objects

Four Gospels in Armenian

Date: 1434/35 Medium: Tempera and gold on paper; stamped leather binding Accession: 2010.108 On view in:Gallery 300

Spanish Translation of Saint Augustine's "City of God"

Artist: Cano de Aranda (Spanish, active Toledo) Date: 1446–82 Medium: Tempera and gold on parchment, tooled leather binding Accession: X.430.1 On view in:Gallery 20

Manuscript Illumination with the Holy Women at the Tomb in an Initial A, from an Antiphonary

Artist: Girolamo dai Libri (Italian, Verona 1474–1555 Verona) Date: ca. 1490–1500 Medium: Tempera, gold, and ink on parchment Accession: 62.122.17 On view in:Gallery 306

Manuscript Leaf with the Crucifixion, from a Missal

Date: ca. 1270–80 Medium: Tempera and gold on parchment Accession: 1981.322 On view in:Not on view

Manuscript Leaf with Initial R, from a Gradual

Date: second quarter 15th century Medium: Tempera, ink, and metal leaf on parchment Accession: 28.225.23 On view in:Gallery 306