Le Songe du Vergier
Author: de Maiziéres, Phillipe
Medium: Ink, pigments and gold on vellum
This illumination comes form the manuscript of ‘Le Songe du Vergier’, a treatise on the relationship between spiritual and temporal powers by Phillipe de Maiziéres. Phillipe was a member of the French royal council. His treatise, written in Latin and French, was presented to the king, Charles V, in 1378.
France reached a cultural zenith under the rule of Charles V. He was particularly active in commissioning works of literature, including translations of important philosophical texts. Each royal residence had its own library. An inventory of the library at the Louvre Palace in 1380 lists over 900 books.
The illumination shows Charles enthroned between two queens, who represent Spiritual Power and Temporal Power - the two authorities a good ruler must strive to balance. A clerk and a knight, the voices heard in the text, stand before them in animated debate. The sleeping figure in the foreground probably represents the author dreaming the scene.