MINIATURIST, French
(active 1410-1412 in Paris)

Christine de Pisan, Collected works ('The Book of the Queen')

1410-12
Manuscript (Harley MS 4431), 368 x 285 mm
British Library, London

Christine de Pisan (1365-c. 1430) was born in Venice, and taken to France by his father who was called to serve as astrologer to the French royal court. She married by the age of 15. When her husband died in 1389, leaving her alone with three children, she sought to support herself, and so became one of the most successful writers of her time, a poet who elicited respect and appreciation from the most exalted circles. Writing in the French language, she repeatedly articulated the grievances of women in the Medieval world of men.

The present manuscript in London was commissioned around 1410-12 by Isabella, Princess of Bavaria (1371-1435), wife of Charles VI and Queen of France. Very soon afterwards, and throughout the 15th century, this and other works by Christine were published in a number of illuminated manuscripts.

The manuscript is divided in two volumes. It is decorated with 2 half-page miniatures in gold and colours, and numerous smaller miniatures in gold and colours, the width of one column.

On folio 4r, in a manner typical of late mediaeval portraits of authors, the elegant miniature introduces Christine de Pisan.




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