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Single Miniature Excised from Boccaccio's Des Cleres et nobles femmes: Queen Medusa and Her Court

Single Miniature Excised from Boccaccio's Des Cleres et nobles femmes: Queen Medusa and Her Court

c. 1470

circle of Maître François

(French)

Tempera and gold on vellum

Sheet: 13 x 9.1 cm (5 1/8 x 3 9/16 in.)

Gift from J. H. Wade 1924.1015

Description

This miniature comes from the French translation of a book by the Italian poet Giovanni Boccaccio (1313–1375). A compilation of biographies of famous women, Boccaccio’s work remained popular in France throughout the 1400s, especially with aristocratic bibliophiles, and was usually beautifully illustrated in the form of a deluxe manuscript. Shown here is the miniature introducing the chapter dealing with the legend of Queen Medusa. Surrounded by her courtiers, Medusa instructs the reader on the disadvantages of possessing wealth, which brings fear and superstition as well as loss of sleep, security, and peace of mind.

See also
Department: 
Medieval Art
Type of artwork: 
Manuscript
Credit line: 
Gift from J. H. Wade

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