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Belles Heures of Jean de France, duc de Berry, 1405–1408/9. Herman, Paul, and Jean de Limbourg (Franco-Netherlandish, active in France by 1399–1416). French; Made in Paris. Ink, tempera, and gold leaf on vellum; 9 3/8 x 6 5/8 in. (23.8 x 16.8 cm). The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, The Cloisters Collection, 1954 (54.1.1).
Hours of the Virgin
The Annunciation, Folio 30r
Angel Gabriel brings the news that the Virgin will bear the Son of God, and the Virgin, kneeling at a shrine, reacts with modest introspection. The scene takes place in an interior barrel-vaulted space divided by a central column. Above, God the Father stands in a balcony supported by a caryatid, and at this moment of incarnation sends down the dove of the Holy Spirit, who hovers above the Virgin’s halo. The border on this page is unlike any other in the manuscript, and is heavily painted with foliate scrolls inhabited by prophets, musical angels, and putti, as well as the coat of arms of Jean de Berry and his emblems: bears and swans.