Book of Hours

Simon Bening Netherlandish

On view at The Met Cloisters in Gallery 14

This diminutive Book of Hours is one of Simon Bening’s prayerful jewels, intended for use at regular intervals throughout the twenty-four- hour day (ideally every three hours). It was a reminder of the omnipresence of God, meant to be attached to its owner, or stored with precious possessions. There is a special magic achieved by Bening’s exceptional skill at creating a miniature world. The miniatures follow standard convention, but Bening consistently tweaks the presentation, making this manuscript exceptionally poignant and affecting.

Book of Hours, Simon Bening (Netherlandish, Ghent (?) 1483/84–1561 Bruges), Tempera, gold, and ink on parchment; modern red leather binding, Netherlandish

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Folios 8v-9r, The Annunciation (Matins) / full-page border