Simon Marmion (French, 1420s-1489)
tempera on vellum, Sheet: 15.20 x 11.20 cm (5 15/16 x 4 3/8 inches); Framed: 44.45 x 34.29 cm (17 1/2 x 13 1/2 inches); Matted: 40.64 x 30.48 cm (16 x 12 inches). John L. Severance Fund 2005.55
Simon Marmion was one of the most esteemed miniaturists of his generation. He was praised by the poet Jean Lemaire de Belges as the "prince of illumination." Marmion was a member of a family of painters from Amiens and likely trained in his father’s workshop before establishing his own workshop in Valenciennes. During the course of his career, he received numerous commissions from the Burgundian court, then resident in the Netherlands. In addition to manuscript illuminations, his commissions included paintings, altarpieces, portraits, and decorations for court festivities.
This miniature comes from a deluxe breviary commissioned by the third duke of Burgundy, Philip the Good (1419-67), but completed after his death for his son and successor, Charles the Bold (1467-77), and his wife, Margaret of York. It survives with a sister leaf representing the Holy Virgins, now in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. These two leaves are today the sole tangible remnants from a breviary that was well-documented in its time. It once contained 624 folios, 95 full-page miniatures, 12 calendar vignettes, and several thousand small initials and marginal decoration.