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Snowball Fight
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Snowball Fight

Description Exhibitions Provenance Credit
Description The solemn yet harried preparation for a holiday feast is usually the image accompanying the December calendar in a Book of Hours. The image displayed here is a rare and delightful departure from convention. Through color the artist has beautifully captured the chill of a winter day, and he skillfully conveys the excitement of a snowball fight. All is not play, however, for in the distant background, work still goes on. But for a wonderful moment, the world is a playground. This Prayer Book was created ca. 1520-30, likely in Brussels, in the style of the Master of Charles V. It consists entirely of single folios that were added in or moved around in the book, rendering collation unfeasible. Many of intricate and high-quality miniatures were reproduced through chromolithography by Léon Gruel in his Petites Heures, published in Paris in 1875. The calendar is especially charming and features seasonally relevant illustrations. The suffrages contain detailed and illusionistic figures, including one for St. Elizabeth of Hungary. The contents of the calendar suggest a Franciscan affinity.
  • Illuminated Manuscripts: Masterpieces in Miniature. The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore. 1984-1985.
  • The Four Seasons. The Walters Art Gallery, Baltimore. 1986.
  • Checkmate! Medieval People at Play. The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore. 2010.
Provenance Unknown Spanish owner [1], 19th century. Léon Gruel, Paris, ca. 1850-75 [2]. Peter Marié [ca. 1825-1903], New York, late 19th century; Peter Marié Sale, New York, 1903, lot 567. George Richmond, New York; purchased by Henry Walters, Baltimore; by bequest to Walters Art Museum, 1931. [1] Inscriptions in lower margins on fols. 47v ("S. Catalina") and 54v ("Sancta Magdalen") indicate Spanish ownership [2] Stamped in red capitals on front endleaf: GRUEL
Credit Acquired by Henry Walters, after 1902

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ca. 1520-1530
ink and paint on parchment
(Manuscripts & Rare Books)
Accession Number
H: 3 9/16 × W: 2 9/16 in. (9 × 6.5 cm)
Location Within Museum
Not On View

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