"[Illuminated Leaf]", Hardouin, Gilles
Subject: Early Printing
Period: 1500 (circa)
Publication: Book of Hours
4.3 x 6.5 inches
10.9 x 16.5 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.
A wonderful leaf from an early printed Book of Hours. This is an example of the transition period in which the text was printed and leaves were decorated with a combination of metal cut illustrations and miniatures painted by hand. The recto is filled with a picture depicting the capture of Jesus in Gethsemaneh. Peter is shown with his raised sword about to cleave the head of Malchus who is laying on the ground and dropped his lantern. Judas with his bundle of money in standing behind Jesus. An architectural frame that is painted in gold borders the picture. The text on the verso is from John 18 with one illuminated initial and enclosed in uncolored decorative borders. The initials of the printer are at bottom.
Some flaking of paint in the sky, else very good.