Christmas Countdown: 6 More Sleeps!

Book of Hours (Paris), unknown folio, late 15th century

Okay, so this Nativity scene is almost too well done – there are no weird things to point out, aside from one of the Wise Men looking like he has a loaf of bread coming out of his head. It’s a nice picture, but it’s just… uninteresting. It’s the kind of picture you would expect to see in someone’s washroom.

What really made me fall in love with the image above was the foliate board around the Nativity miniature. Sometimes the borders of a manuscript can reveal so much. An example? See Kells. There are entire books dedicated to scholarly analysis of manuscript/incunabula borders, and even people on Pinterest have shown a non-scholarly appreciation of the borders’ beauty. In some cases, as with the image above, the border actually steals the spotlight from the miniature we’re supposed to be looking at.

Just like Pippa stole Kate’s spotlight at the royal wedding a couple years back.

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