(b. ca. 1400, Meersburg am Bodensee, d. 1451, Köln)

Prayer Book

Manuscript (Ms. 70), 108 x 80 mm
Hessische Landesbibliothek, Darmstadt

This tiny manuscript contains a Book of Hours in German, illustrated by Stefan Lochner, one of Germany's most important late Gothic painters, who was active in Cologne, running a very productive workshop from 1442 until his death. The workshop produced altarpieces and devotional pictures as well as book illustrations. However, only three prayer books survive as examples of such work.

On this double-page spread (folios 22v and 23r) not only the portrayal of the Annunciation on the left leaf, but also the magnificent initial filled with acanthus foliage and a flower on the opposite page, are impressive. The Annunciation scene embraces the customary traditions, which, however, it transforms into an especially charming and intimate image. The page opposite is probably the most beautiful ornamental page of the book. The border is made up of undulating vine stems, decorated with stylised foliage, flowers and fruit.