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Image of the adoration of the Magi, Breviary of Isabella of Castile, Gerard David, Bruges, late 1480s, 230 x 160 mm, Add. MS 18851, f. 41
One of the most lavish service books illuminated by Flemish artists was made for Queen Isabella of Castile. Conceived to be illustrated with no less than 172 miniatures, this grand project was apparently concluded around the time of the marriage of Isabella’s son and daughter to the son and daughter of Mary of Burgundy and the Emperor Maximilian in 1496. Within this volume the panel painter Gerard David executed three stunning miniatures. His illustration for the Advent service depends on compositions that both he and Hugo van der Goes had explored on a much larger scale in panel paintings. His exemplary technique is visible in his subtle handling of the play of light across the faces and drapery.
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