"[Illuminated Leaf]", Hardouin, Gilles
Subject: Early Printing
Period: 1518 (circa)
4.3 x 7.2 inches
10.9 x 18.3 cm
This leaf is from the brief transitional period when the new technology of printing with movable type was combined with the more labor intensive methods of hand painting. The earliest printers were trained in the manuscript tradition and incorporated the conventions of historiated initials and illustrations into their early work. At first they left those spaces blank for the illuminator to complete entirely by hand. Later they developed printing methods (using woodcuts or iron engravings) to decorate the leaves.
Splendid leaf from a Book of Hours printed on vellum by Gilles Hardouin for Germain Hardouin librayre demourant entre les deux portes du Palays en l’enseigne saincte marguerite (bookseller living between the two gates of the Palace at the sign of Saint Marguerite) of Paris. This leaf is a fabulous example of the combination of printing and hand painted illumination. On the recto is the printed calendar for November and December and on the verso is a superb painting of St. John reading a book with an eagle (his personal symbol) and a vision of the Blessed Virgin and Child watching over him. Below the painting is the Latin verse "Initium sancti evangelii secundum Johannem. Gloria tibi domine." (The beginning of the holy gospel according to John. Glory be to you. O Lord.)