MASTER of Mary of Burgundy
(active 1469-1483 in Ghent)

Book of Hours for Engelbert of Nassau

Manuscript (Ms. Douce 219-220, 2 volumes), 137 x 97 mm (each page)
Bodleian Library, Oxford

The Book of Hours for Engelbert of Nassau was executed by the illuminator referred to as the Master of Mary of Burgundy. These folios depict the Adoration of the Magi and the Procession of the Magi.

Count Engelbert of Nassau was leader of the Duke of Burgundy's Privy Council. His family had been officers in the Burgundian Court at Bruges for three generations. As a wealthy courtier he could afford richly illuminated manuscripts such as this.

The picture shows the Prayer to the Virgin page of the Book of Hours for Engelbert of Nassau with the illuminations by the Master of Mary of Burgundy.

In this tiny but lavish book, the illuminator devised new trompe-l'oeil techniques by manipulating the immediate foreground that establishes the presence of the page as well as the framed distant view that annihilates it. The marginal decorations are no longer filled with flat, decorative ivy scrolls, but instead become floors strewn with realistic objects, such as storage shelves that display relics, skulls, jugs, and other still-life objects, rendered illusionistically with cast shadows as if they actually existed on our side of the page.

© Web Gallery of Art, created by Emil Krén and Daniel Marx.