From the Hand of the Master: The Hours of Catherine of Cleves

Anne Margreet W. As-Vijvers (ed.)
with contributions by A.M.W. As-Vijvers, Saskia van Bergen, Claudine A. Chavannes-Mazel and Kathryn M. Rudy

Around 1440 the masterful hand of an anonymous artist created an unbelievably beautiful Book of Hours for the duchess of Guelders, Catherine of Cleves (1417-1476). Because his name has not come down to us, the artist is called the Master of Catherine of Cleves after this prayer book.

This richly illustrated art historical publication accompanies the once-in-a-lifetime exhibition Demons and Devotion: The Hours of Catherine of Cleves, which will be on view in the autumn of 2009 at the Valkhof Museum in Nijmegen and thereafter, beginning in February 2010, at the Pierpont Morgan Library and Museum in New York.

Numerous illustrations and four accessibly written essays guide the reader into the world of the Book of Hours and the Master of Catherine of Cleves. Topics addressed include the ingenious programme of illustration in the Hours of Catherine of Cleves, the extremely creative miniatures that the artist designed, his incomparably fantastical border decorations, and the special attention he paid to the representation of daily life, including, above all, that of children.

In addition to these essays, this beautifully designed publication contains a reconstruction of the original programme of decoration in the Hours of Catherine of Cleves, as well as a series of colour plates, in which nearly 40 folios from the precious manuscript are represented in their original size, each accompanied by a detailed commentary. All of the contributions have been written by specialists in the field of medieval illumination.

From the Hand of the Master is a book that will bring the pleasure of the exhibition home, and it provides an excellent introduction to one of the most beautiful examples of art and devotion that have survived from the medieval Northern Netherlands.

This publication is available in Dutch, English and German