I just realized that, while I feature Books of Hours all the time on this blog, I’ve never really gone into depth about what they are. Now, if I were to describe a Book of Hours, I would just say that it’s a personal prayer book, but I feel like that description would leave my readers unsatisfied. So, to satisfy all of y’all, I’ll just copy and paste what Glenn Gunhouse wrote for Medievalist.net:
In the Gothic period, and especially in the thirteenth century, there was a strong desire on the part of lay people to imitate the devotional practices of monks and nuns. The breviary was far too complex for use by lay people, however. A simpler book was therefore developed which, though resembling a breviary, was far less variable, and therefore easier to use. This new type of book was the “Book of Hours.”
Nicely worded, Glenn. Readers – if you want to know more about Books of Hours, check out Medievalist.net. Glenn talks a lot about the structure of a typical Book of Hours, and also provides a lot of useful links if you want to learn even more.
Now, the picture above.
For a man who is supposed to be 60+, Joseph is looking great for his age. I’m pretty sure I’ve dated guys that look older than Joseph does in this picture. Which is kind of creepy, I guess.
Also, I couldn’t help but notice how old Baby Jesus looks. I think this miniature’s artist had a little bit of trouble when it came to accurately portraying people’s ages.
And you know what else he had trouble with?
Remembering to draw Baby Jesus’ hands.
A Baby Jesus with no hands? Now that is creepy.