MASTER of the Hours of Maréchal de Boucicaut
(active 1405-1420 in Paris)
Book of Hours of Maréchal de Boucicaut1405-08
Manuscript (Ms. 2), 275 x 190 mm
Musée Jacquemart-André, Paris
This manuscript was commissioned by Jean II La Meingre, Marshal Boucicaut (died 1421) and his wife Antoinette de Turenne. His biographers describe the marshal as a man of almost superhuman piety. This description fits in with his magnificent book of hours, which begins with 27 large miniatures of saints, who all have clear links with Boucicaut's life. The 46 miniatures in the manuscript show characteristics of the style of the Bedford Master who often worked with the artist responsible for the Boucicaut Hours. The wide borders around each miniature, with their delicate and elegant vegetal decoration, are also found in a Parisian missal manuscript dated 1412, suggesting a slightly later date of 1410-12 for the manuscript.
The miniature on folio 38v depicts marshal Boucicaut at prayer, kneeling before St Catherine of Alexandria. This solemn act of prayer is set in a late Gothic hall. The curtain drawn across the room reinforces the intimate nature and piety of individual prayer, while the angel holding the marshal's coat of arms refers us back to the more worldly aspects of life.
This miniature, surrounded by a delicate vegetal margin, is one of the many examples of the Boucicaut Master's outstanding artistic talent.