The Garden of the Soul - Le Jardinet de l'Ame

The Garden of the Soul - Le Jardinet de l'Ame

Amiens (France) — 1569

Magnificently illuminated and decorated with gold: prayers to various saints in the splendor of French and Flemish illumination

  1. The impressively illuminated devotional book contains prayers to various saints for multiple occasions

  2. The variety of the motifs employed visualizes the full splendor of illumination in France and Flanders

  3. The exceptional skill of the participating artists is evidenced by the grisaille painting of the miniatures

The Garden of the Soul - Le Jardinet de l'Ame

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  1. Description
  2. Detail Picture
  3. Single Page
  4. Facsimile Editions (1)
Description
The Garden of the Soul - Le Jardinet de l'Ame

Hiding behind the term The Garden of the Soul is a gem of 16th century illumination, a wonderful devotional- / prayer booklet. The grandiose artistic furnishings of the small manuscript attest to the highest artistry. Originating from Amiens, France in 1569, the devotional book contains prayers to various saints and for multiple occasions alongside impressive miniatures and decorative frames. The variety of the motives employed visualizes the full splendor of illumination in France – with significant echoes from the great period of Flemish book art – and offers an extensive opportunity to immerse oneself in the in the art and piety of the 16th century.

The Garden of the Soul - Le Jardinet de l'Ame

Hiding behind the term The Garden of the Soul is a gem of 16th century illumination, a wonderful devotional- / prayer booklet. The grandiose artistic furnishings of the small manuscript attest to the highest artistry. Originating from Amiens, France in 1569, the devotional book contains prayers to various saints and for multiple occasions alongside impressive miniatures and decorative frames. The variety of the motives employed visualizes the full splendor of illumination in France – with significant echoes from the great period of Flemish book art – and offers an extensive opportunity to immerse oneself in the in the art and piety of the 16th century.

Miniatures of the Highest Quality

Whether it is the impressive Saint Christopher with the Christ Child on his shoulders, the pious adoration in the stall in Bethlehem, or the rapt Mary Magdalen under the cross: the religious depictions could not be presented more forcefully than in the miniatures of The Garden of the Soul from Amiens. Many of the miniature pages are signed by Master AB Normand, who presents his art as a true master with these splendid attestations. The images are wonderfully bright and vigorously executed, and visualize moving figures and exceptionally finely designed sceneries. For example, consider the scene of the Annunciation with a buoyant angel amidst white clouds. The miniatures were accentuated through the skillful application of gold.

Ornamentation and Figure in the Highest Unification

This is found in the ample use as well as the exuberant decorative frames in both the text as well as the image pages. Whether floral ornamentation with flowers and fruits, animal and human figures, or architectural elements, everything coalesces into a real delight for the eyes of the beholder. The text pages opposite the miniature pages are adorned all over with historiated initials. Aside from that, on some pages there can be found small bas-de-page miniatures, in order to artistically fill an empty space. The exceptional quality of the participating artists is also evidenced by the miniatures in the great art of grisaille painting, which adorn some pages of the booklet.

A Testimony of Piety

The The Garden of the Soul probably served for private immersion in the prayers and the biblical images of the book. It stands in a tradition going back to the 1st century after Christ that saw God and Christ as “gardeners of the soul”. With the help of prayers, this garden of the soul could be tended. However, on page 171 there is a depiction which falls outside of the religious scope of the remaining furnishings: a portrait, perhaps that of the author? Additionally, the manuscript contains two prayers for the already deceased parents of the artist, Casimir Normand and Catherine Faroux. An additional name of a participating artists is found in the back of the book. There the Amiens bookbinder Tessier immortalized himself, who bound the gem of 16th century book art in wonderful dark-red leather.

Codicology

Alternative Titles
El Jardin del Alma
El jardincito del alma
Le jardinet de l’ame
Seelengarten
Size / Format
204 pages / 13.5 × 9.5 cm
Origin
France
Date
1569
Artist / School

Available facsimile editions:
The Garden of the Soul - Le Jardinet de l'Ame – Private Collection
Siloé, arte y bibliofilia – Burgos, 2010
Limited Edition: 898 copies
Detail Picture

The Garden of the Soul

Saint Christopher

According to legend, Saint Christopher carried an unknown child on his back across a river before the child revealed himself as Christ. He has since been regarded as the patron saint of travelers who often carry images of him. Although this image has the typical composition of the saint crossing a river from left to right with a child on his shoulders, this scene was created with only blue and white, which in combination with the facial expressions gives a calm and serene impression.

Le Jardinet de l'Ame
Single Page

The Garden of the Soul

Saint Colette

This 14th century French abbess and foundress of the Order of the Colettine Poor Clares is venerated as the patron saint of women seeking to conceive, pregnant mothers, and sick children due to various miracles that happened during her life. The first miracle was her own birth: her childless parents prayed to Saint Nicholas and then at the age of 60 her mother Marguerite gave birth.

In gratitude, they named their daughter Nicolette after the saint, which was then shortened to Colette. Saint Colette spent four years living the contemplative and ascetic life of a hermit, which is depicted here, before becoming a monastic reformer who performed miracles like saving a mother from a dangerous childbirth through prayer and reviving a stillborn child.

Le Jardinet de l'Ame
Facsimile Editions

#1 Le Jardinet de l'Ame

Siloé, arte y bibliofilia – Burgos, 2010
The Garden of the Soul - Le Jardinet de l'Ame – Private Collection
The Garden of the Soul - Le Jardinet de l'Ame – Private Collection Copyright Photos: Ziereis Facsimiles

Publisher: Siloé, arte y bibliofilia – Burgos, 2010
Limited Edition: 898 copies
Binding: Leather with embossed fleurs-de-lys and floral patterns, presented with the commentary in a leather box
Commentary: 1 volume by María J. Vázquez de Parga and Elisa Ruiz García
Language: Spanish
1 volume: Exact reproduction of the original document (extent, color and size) Reproduction of the entire original document as detailed as possible (scope, format, colors). The binding may not correspond to the original or current document binding.
Price Category: €€€ (3,000€ - 7,000€)
Edition available
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