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.

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