"[Illuminated Leaf]", Hardouin, Gilles
Subject: Early Printing
Period: 1500 (circa)
Publication: Book of Hours
4.2 x 6.6 inches
10.7 x 16.8 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.
This leaf is printed on a fine sheet of vellum with metal engraved panels surrounding the text containing two psalms: Ad dominum cum tribularer clamavi...(119) and Levavi oculos meos (120). The beginning initials were painted by hand with red, blue and gold ink. The recto side contains a beautiful full-page manuscript miniature of the shepherds listening to the angels announcing Christ's birth. The picture is surrounded by an architectural border in liquid gold. The initials of Gilles Hardouyn are included on both sides. This is a superb example of the combination of manuscript and printing during this period of transition and innovation.
Some minor rubbing of the miniature.