Les Enluminures

3. Hours of the Virgin
Passion Cycle

Christ Nailed to the Cross
Master of the Bible of Jean de Sy

Except for four small pictures of the Joys of the Virgin, all the miniatures in this Book of Hours are Passion images. The Hours of the Virgin, for instance, feature extra illustrations not included in traditional cycles: there are two pictures of Christ Mocked, a Crowning with Thorns, the Instruments of the Passion, and as shown here, Christ Nailed to the Cross (for None).

The Master of the Bible of Jean de Sy is one of the most characteristic Parisian illuminators from the third quarter of the fourteenth century. He is named after a Bible with commentary by Jean de Sy that was made for King Jean II of France (Paris, BnF, MS fr. 15,397). Most of his work, however, was done at the court of Jean's heir, Charles V (r. 1364-80). This miniature is typical of the artist's delicate tinted grisaille; typical, too, are the nimble-footed, wasp-waisted figures. The manuscript was probably written in Verdun (where the less than fine foliage was painted) and then brought to Paris where the miniatures were pasted in.