fifteenth century art

Pretty medieval manuscript of the day is a lavishly illustrated Franciscan breviary. The historiated initial shows David with his harp. The border contains fantastical creatures, and owls, and dragons, and naked figures fighting, and angels bearing coats of arms, and… well really there is just so much going on here that the best thing you can do is take a proper close-up look! If this image isn’t high res enough for you, check out the original over on Flickr.

Image source: Schaffhausen, Ministerialbibliothek, Min. 98: Breviarium OFM . Creative Commons licensed via eCodices on Flickr.

Pretty medieval manuscript of the day is a richly decorated leaf from the Book of Hours of the Ladies of OudenaardeThe manuscript was produced in the low countries in the early fifteenth century.

Image source: Utopia, armarium codicum bibliophilorum, Cod. 104: Book of Hours of the Ladies of Oudenaarde. Creative Commons licensed via eCodices on Flickr

Jelly D'Aranyi (c.1920s). Charles Geoffroy-Dechaume (French, 1877-1944). Oil on canvas. National Portrait Gallery.

D'Aranyi, a Hungarian violinist, is wearing a dress that epitomises the liberation of women’s fashion in the 1920s. The carnations, traditional flowers of concert-goers in Italy and Spain, lying on a classical window ledge recall early Italian paintings of the fifteenth century.

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Fra Giovanni da Fiesole, known as Fra Angelico, died on this day in 1455 in Rome. The first painter to adopt the radically new naturalism of Masaccio, Angelico dominated Florentine painting in the 1430s and 40s. His fame as a panel and fresco painter earned him commissions in Cortona, Perugia, and Rome as well as Florence and Fiesole.  In addition to his artistic career, Angelico was a Dominican friar and active in various administrative roles within his order. Vasari claimed that whenever the artist painted the Crucifixion, he shed a tear. His works certainly have a deeply moving spirituality and meditative quality that make it easy to see why he was so sought after in the first half of the fifteenth century.

Pretty medieval manuscript of the day is another illumination of the presentation in the temple, but this time executed in grisaille with gold leaf highlights. It is a really good example of the grisaille technique, using a very limited palette of grey to great effect. The manuscript was produced in the late fifteenth century in Flanders, but now lives in the Walters Museum, Baltimore.

Image source: Walters Museum MS W. 194. Creative Commons licensed via Flickr.

Pretty medieval manuscript of the day depicts the adoration of the magi - an appropriate image for today, the Christian feast day of Epiphany.

Today is also twelfth night, and the day Christmas decorations are traditionally put away until next year.

Image source: Walters Museum MS W. 167, ‘the Amherst hours’. Creative Commons licensed via Flickr.