Great Hours of Anne of Brittany

Great Hours of Anne of Brittany Saint Matthew writing, f. 21v

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Saint Matthew writing, f. 21v

Saint Matthew is shown in the privacy of a sixteenth-century workshop concentrating on his writing. The man of angelical appearance always with him, this evangelist’s symbol, or the angel, as in this instance, presents him with an open book, thereby conveying the idea that Saint Matthew’s words are inspired by God. This androgynous being garbed in white beside the apostle writing is an iconographic device that originated in ancient times in relation to the close link between the two figures. It dates back to the images in Antiquity of poets or philosophers inspired by a muse, a concept which was Christianised in the Great Hours of Anne of Brittany, and in many other images too.

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