Description & Technical information

Traditionally called messenger’s boxes (and sometimes referred to as Book Boxes), these boxes offer proof of their function as receptacles of books, money, jewels, or other precious items:  this sturdy reinforced box has metal hoops for straps to attach to the back of the horse or the shoulder of the messenger. The smaller boxes (not this one) may have been worn suspended from a belt. Some of the larger boxes still have remnants of straw or padding meant to protect the shoulder of the messenger or the flanks of the horse in transit. The pious images contained within these strong boxes promised spiritual protection during the journey. They are numerous in their identity, including, the Ecce Homo, Christ Blessing, God in Majesty, the Virgin and Child with Saints Catherine and Barbara, Saint Roch, the Nativity, the Arrest of Christ, and many others
The woodcut of God the Father in Majesty shows the figure of the Salvator Mundi enthroned surrounded by angels and accompanied by the symbols of the Four Evangelists. It is recognizable as the work of the Master of the Petites Heures of Anne of Brittany
In the present woodcut the artist has altered the subject in relation to the image found in the Missal, moving the two animals symbolizing Mark and Matthew to the upper register, in order to make room for the engraved inscription: “Te invocamus, te laudamus te benedicimus o beata trinita v. Sit nomen domini benedictum ex hoc nunc et usque in seculum. Oremus omnipotens sempiterne deus.” This box may well have been intended to contain a Missal

Date:  1491
Period:  1400-1600, 15th century
Origin:  France, Paris
Medium: Woodcut
Categories: Illuminated Manuscripts & Medieval Works of Art