The Cleveland Museum of Art

Collection Online as of June 15, 2024

Leaf from a Book of Hours: Ape Hunting Wild Boars (recto) and Ape Fishing (verso)

Leaf from a Book of Hours: Ape Hunting Wild Boars (recto) and Ape Fishing (verso)

c. 1500–1510
Location: not on view

Did You Know?

The ape and the wild boar symbolized vice in general and lust in particular during the Middle Ages.


The litany of the saints is among the most ancient and emotional Christian liturgical texts, dating in the West to at least the AD 400s. In a book of hours, the litanies is a list of saints’ names expressed in hierarchical order and individual rank. These names were recited rhythmically as invocations, followed each time by Ora pro nobis (Pray for us). In this way, saints were called upon by sinners seeking forgiveness and salvation.

The bas-de-page (lower margin), features an ape hunting wild boars: both animals were symbolic of vice and lust. Perhaps deriving from a fable, the scene could be amusing or diversionary, but it was likely instructive for the medieval owner of the book.
  • 3 July 1984
    [Sotheby's, London, 3 July 1984, lot 127]
    [Bruce Ferrini, Akron, OH, sold to Jeanne Miles Blackburn]
    [Graton and Graton, Evanston, Ill.]
    Jeanne Miles Blackburn, Maitland, Fl, gifted to the Cleveland Museum of Art
    The Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, Ohio
  • Leroquais, V. Les livres d'heures manuscrits de la Bibliothèque nationale. Paris: [Maçon, Protat frères, impr.], 1927. pl. CII
    Avril, François, and Nicole Reynaud. Les manuscrits à peintures en France: 1440-1520. Paris: Flammarion, 1993. p. 279-80, Cat. 153, fig. 153
    Wieck, Roger S. Painted Prayers: The Book of Hours in Medieval and Renaissance Art. 1997. pp. 91-93
    Fliegel, Stephen N. The Jeanne Miles Blackburn Collection of Manuscript Illuminations. Cleveland, Ohio: Cleveland Museum of Art, 1999. Mentioned and Reproduced: p. 63, cat. no. 61
  • The Medieval Top Seller: The Book of Hours (Gallery 115 rotation). The Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, OH (organizer) (August 26, 2022-July 30, 2023).
  • {{cite web|title=Leaf from a Book of Hours: Ape Hunting Wild Boars (recto) and Ape Fishing (verso) |url=false|author=|year=c. 1500–1510|access-date=15 June 2024|publisher=Cleveland Museum of Art}}

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