Lace Book of Marie de’ Medici, Lace margins, Walters Manuscript W.494, Folio 10r by Walters Art Museum Via Flickr: This Prayerbook was made for Marie de’ Medici in the second quarter of the seventeenth century. Beyond its provenance as a personal book owned by the famous queen, it is exceptional for its intricately cut borders, which transform the parchment margins into lace. This effect was created using a technique known as “canivet,” in which a small knife was used to cut ornate patterns into paper or parchment. An art form that flourished originally among nuns in France, Germany, and the Netherlands beginning in the sixteenth century, it was employed to exceptional effect in several manuscripts connected with Marie de’ Medici. The Walters manuscript, made for her while she was regent of France, and wife of King Henry IV, contains twenty-eight miniatures, including original religious imagery as well as several later additions: a gouache portrait of the elderly queen, and nine small miniatures produced in Bruges ca. 1450 by an artist influenced by the Eyckian and Gold Scrolls styles prevalent at the time; the coat-of-arms of Marie de Medici, as well as her monogram. The Walters manuscript retains its original binding composed of mosaic inlays in green and black leather, as well as fine gilt pointillé foliate tooling, and a replica of the binding was created by Léon Gruel for Henry Walters on one of his seventeenth-century printed books (92.467) that also connects to Marie de’ Medici.
All manuscript images and descriptions were created and are provided through Preservation and Access grants awarded to the Walters Art Museum by the National Endowment for the Humanities, 2008-2014.
Access a complete set of high-resolution archival images of this manuscript for free on the Digital Walters at www.thedigitalwalters.org/Data/WaltersManuscripts/html/W494/
Book of Hours, Ass playing recorder and bell, from a marginal cycle of images of the funeral of Renard the Fox, Walters Manuscript W.102, fol. 75r by Walters Art Museum Illuminated Manuscripts http://flic.kr/p/cE2SfA
July, is the feast day of St Mary Magdalene, one of Christianity’s most
important saints. Mentioned in all the canonical Gospels as a close follower of
Jesus, Mary is nevertheless a mysterious figure. Her name suggest that she originated from Magdala Tarichaea, an historical town on the sea of Galilee, and may also
indicate that she was not married, as it does not include her husband’s name.
On the contrary, the best-known facts of the Magdalene’s life — her sinful life as a prostitute
and her momentous conversion to a saintly life — are not confirmed by the Bible’s
text. For example, Jesus’ well-known maxim “let him that is without sin cast
the first stone,” traditionally associated with the Magdalene, actually only
refers to an unnamed “woman caught in adultery” (John 8:2–11). Along the centuries, the
figure of the Magdalene became intertwined and confused with that of other
female disciples and Biblical Marys.