The Très Riches Heures du Duc de Berry

The Très Riches Heures du Duc de Berry Fol. 26v - The Annunciation

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Fol. 26v - The Annunciation

Limbourg brothers

Set at the entrance of a Gothic oratory adorned with statues representing the prophets and heroes of the Old Testament, the Annunciation, taking place under an arcade, evokes redemption (while the opposite page represents, instead, the scene of the Original Sin). The archangel Gabriel — wearing the iridescent chasuble of the bishops, a three-flowered lily in one hand and, in the other, the phylactery with, inscribed, his first words of greeting (Ave gratia plena...) — kneels before the Virgin, portrayed with a bookrest before her. Above, God the Father sends forth toward her the Holy Spirit — a dove and rays of light traversing glass (a metaphor for virginal conception): “As the ray passes through the glass without breaking it, so the Virgin Mary was a virgin, and a virgin she remained” (from the Marian hymn, Dies est laetitiae). The angel musicians on the balcony honour the Incarnation with music from the portative organ, the harp, the lute and the vielle. Musicians appear also on the border: other musician angels, represented as half-figures emerging from flowers of the acanthus, play bells and a double flute, form a choir, and also play the psaltery and small percussion instruments. At the top of the page, adorned with a bow, we have a marine trumpet, or “trumpet of Mary”, a large single-stringed instrument once played in religious houses. The embellished coats of arms and insignia of the Duke of Berry, with bear and swan, complete the adornments.

 

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