Leaf from a Book of Hours: The Visitation

c. 1415
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workshop of Boucicaut Master

(French, Paris, active about 1410–25)
Sheet: 17 x 12.7 cm (6 11/16 x 5 in.)
Location: not on view
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Did You Know?

Highly customizable, the order of a book of hours shifts, and individual prayers vary, sometimes significantly, from region to region.


The heart of every book of hours is the Hours of the Virgin. With this set of prayers, the reader asked the Virgin Mary to intercede on their behalf. The prayers come mostly from the Bible and include psalms, hymns, and readings. The Hours of the Virgin emerged from the eight “hours” of the day in the monastic world’s routine of daily prayers from daybreak to late at night. Originally used solely by the ordained, by the 1000s, these prayers had spread to the general population through their inclusion in books of hours. This section is traditionally illustrated by images from the life of the Virgin Mary, with each hour featuring a different event. The scene of the Visitation opens lauds, the prayers said at night or upon rising.
Leaf from a Book of Hours: The Visitation

Leaf from a Book of Hours: The Visitation

c. 1415

Boucicaut Master

(French, Paris, active about 1410–25)
France, Paris

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