About This Artwork

Workshop of the Master of the Privileges of Ghent and Flanders
Flanders (Ghent or Tournai)

The Annunciation, from a Book of Hours, 1440/45

Manuscript with 230 folios, 12 full-page miniatures and other decorations in gold leaf, tempera and colored inks, and littera textualis inscriptions in Latin and French in dark black ink, ruled in red with red rubrics, on parchment, with two parchment fly leaves upper cover, three parchment fly leaves lower cover, sheets with gilded edges, in modern binding of brown morocco leather over wooden boards
190 x 135 mm (book); 115 x 100 mm (sheets)

Anonymous gift, 1915.538

Books of Hours were the most popular book of the Middle Ages and Renaissance; more of them were produced from c. 1250–1550 than any other type of book, devotional or otherwise. This example has been attributed to the workshop of the prolific Master of the Ghent Privileges, and characteristically ornaments a sequence of prayers and devotional reading to be recited at precisely set times of the day and night. Images such as this tender scene of the encounter between the Virgin and her cousin Saint Elizabeth, both miraculously with child, helped introduce the different segments of the Hours of the Virgin, the core section of all Books of Hours.

— Exhibition label, Devotion and Splendor: Medieval Art at the Art Institute of Chicago, September 25, 2004-January 2, 2005

Exhibition, Publication and Ownership Histories

Exhibition History

Milwaukee Art Museum, “Illuminations: Medieval and Renaissance Books and Manuscripts,” October 17–December 29, 1985.

The Art Institute of Chicago, Ryerson and Burnham Library, "From Scroll to Codex," November 20, 2000-January 15, 2001.

The Art Institute of Chicago, “Devotion and Splendor: Medieval Art at The Art Institute of Chicago,” September 25, 2004-January 2, 2005, p. 47, cat. 49 (ill.).

Publication History

Seymour De Ricci, with the assistance of W. J. Wilson, Census of medieval and renaissance manuscripts in the United States and Canada (New York: H. W. Wilson, 1935-40), v. I, p. 515.

Gregory T. Clark, Made in Flanders: The Master of the Ghent Privileges and Manuscript Painting in the Southern Netherlands in the Time of Philip the Good (Turnhout, Belgium: Brepols, 2000), pp. 23-24.

Christina M. Nielsen, “ ‘To Step into another World': Building a Medieval Collection at The Art Institute of Chicago,” Art Institute of Chicago Museum Studies 30, 2 (2004), p. 11.

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