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History of Graphic Design through Publications: ROHAN HOURS

The Rohan Master : A Book of Hours

Location: ND3363 R6 R6313 1973 (Circulating Collection)
This book is reproduced from the illuminated manuscript belonging to the Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris, France.

From Wikipedia:
The Rohan Hours is an illuminated manuscript book of hours, painted by the anonymous artist, the Rohan Master, between 1430 and 1435, in the Gothic style. It contains the usual offices, prayers and litanies in Latin, along with supplemental texts, decorated with 11 full page, 54 half page, and 227 small miniatures, decorated with tempera paints and gold leaf. The book margins are decorated with Old Testament miniatures with captions in Old French, in the style of a Bible moralisée. The full page illuminations are renowned for the highly emotional and dramatic portrayal of the agonies of Christ and the grief of the Virgin. According to Millard Meiss, "The Rohan Master cared less about what people do than what they feel. Whereas his great predecessors excelled in the description of the novel aspects of the natural world, he explored the realm of human feeling." Meiss concludes that the Rohan Master was the "greatest expressionist in 15th century France."  T

The book of hours is a Christian devotional book popular in the Middle Ages. It is the most common type of surviving medieval illuminated manuscript. Like every manuscript, each manuscript book of hours is unique in one way or another, but most contain a similar collection of texts, prayers and psalms, often with appropriate decorations, for Christian devotion. Illumination or decoration is minimal in many examples, often restricted to decorated capital letters at the start of psalms and other prayers, but books made for wealthy patrons may be extremely lavish, with full-page miniatures.


The Library contains many examples of illustrated manuscripts and books of hours.


The epitome of the Rohan Master's art is the "Lamentation of the Virgin" (f. 135, Pl. 57) from the Hours of the Cross. The grieving Virgin cannot be consoled by the Apostle John, who looks up in consternation at a saddened God.


The dead man before God. A demon attempts to steal his soul, but is attacked by St Michael the Archangel.

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