Jewels in Her Crown: Treasures of Columbia University Libraries Special Collections

Exhibition Themes > Theology & Religion > 126. Book of Hours

126.  Book of Hours, use of Paris. Manuscript on parchment, 197 leaves. Paris, ca. 1485. RBML, Phoenix Collection

The artist of this book of hours is known as the Chief Associate of Maître François or sometimes as the Master of Jacques de Besançon. Large numbers of works are attributed to his hand, in particular books of hours. He painted these with unvarying competence but also with constancy in his choice of subject matter and arrangement: the same compositions are repeated again and again. Here on ff. 194v-195 we see his usual martyrdom of St. Catherine of Alexandria: the wheel on which she would have been tormented stands ruined behind her, and the frustrated executioner has finally opted for beheading. On the facing page, a somewhat less frequent scene shows dainty Genevieve picking her way along a country path; as a tiny devil with large bellows attempts to extinguish the flame of her taper, an angel constantly relights it.

Bequest of Stephen Whitney Phoenix, 1881

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