Master of James IV of Scotland

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(flc. 1500–30). South Netherlandish illuminator. He was named by Winkler after a Book of Hours (Vienna, Österreich. Nbib., Cod. 1897) with a full-page miniature of James IV of Scotland, kneeling at a prie-dieu under a green canopy, commended by his patron saint (fol. 24v). He is turned towards an altar that has an antependium showing the Scottish royal coat of arms and the motto In my defens and is crowned by a painted retable with a half-figure of the Saviour on the central panel. The counterpart to this miniature, towards the end of the book (fol. 243v), shows the Queen, Margaret Tudor, in prayer before a vision of the Mother of God. There is also a page with a coat of arms (fol. 14v). The work must have been produced between the marriage of the royal couple in 1503 and the death of James IV in 1513. However, the book presents many problems: the folios with the patrons’ portraits are not integrated in the gatherings as was usual in Flanders, and they may have been later additions. Yet, because the initials and mottoes of the pair appear in other borders of the book, it must have been made for James and Margaret, even if the decision to include full-page portraits was made only after the original commission. It is also curious that the portrait miniatures were produced by different artists. The drawing on fol. 243v is significantly softer than that on fol. 24v, with lighter contours; the heads are less exaggerated and the eyes are smaller than those in fol. 24v and are not defined with strong outlines. The difference is also evident in the depiction of buildings. Winkler recognized this at first, although he later agreed with Durrieu in attributing both pictures to the same painter. In fact only the portrait of the King was produced by the Master of James IV of Scotland, who therefore owes his name to this miniature and not to the manuscript as a whole. At least two more miniatures of Codex 1897, however, can be attributed with certainty to the same artist: the Rest on the Flight into Egypt (fol. 104v) and Christ among the Doctors (fol. 109v). The latter miniature follows a model by Simon Marmion (Naples, Bib. N., MS. I.B.51, fol. 289v).


From The Grove Encyclopedia of Northern Renaissance Art in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Renaissance Art.

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