Miracles in Miniature @ The Morgan

Month of May, from an Album of Calendar Miniatures France, Tours, ca. 1517-20, Illuminated by the Master of Claude de France, 74 x 68 mm (The Morgan Library, New York)

John Haber reviews the exhibition Miracles in Miniature: The Art of the Master of Claude de France at the Morgan Library, New York, on view through September 14, 2014. The Morgan website includes an online version of the show.

Haber writes: "Along the walls run a calendar by the artist known only as the Master of Claude de France. Each of its twelve pages set the month’s labors beneath an architectural lunette, containing the signs of the zodiac. The exhibition centers, though, on that artist’s Book of Hours, also in the museum’s collection, alongside an only slightly larger Prayer Book, from a private collection in Switzerland. One can imagine Claude herself, the first wife of King François I of France, nestling them in her hand and holding them close from day to day... [Claude's miniatures] all have the artist’s soft but intense palette of lilac and rose, tiny brushwork that rarely lingers over outlines, and gentle spirit. Jesus at Gethsemane prays before a tiny chalice on a hill, as if this cup were the best and the worst that he could do. The apostle resting in the foreground looks well fed and comfortable, rather than reflecting a god’s agony in a tormented sleep."