Document Type



Spring 1976


Syracuse University Special Collections, illuminated manuscripts, fifteenth century, Book of Hours




Ancient, Medieval, Renaissance and Baroque Art and Architecture | Arts and Humanities


A Book of Hours written in Dutch was donated to the Syracuse Public Library by J. William Smith in 1908, but received little publicity until 1974, when it was included in an exhibition of medieval art at the Everson Museum, entitled "Medieval Art in Upstate New York." Briefly described in the catalog of that exhibition, and briefly loaned to the George Arents Research Library at Syracuse University, this manuscript, coded Smith 36, bears close consideration for two reasons. First, the style of the historieur, the artist who painted the miniatures, can be detected in at least three additional Books of Hours, thus permitting an all too rare reconstruction of the activity of a single artist, as well as a stylistic grouping that provides a basis of conjecture concerning the date and origin of the Smith miniatures. Secondly, and perhaps more intriguing, the appearance of unique compositional variations in some of the Smith miniatures suggests the artist's familiarity with an important group of grisaille miniatures that appears repeatedly in North Netherlandish book production of the fifteenth century.


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