In the main image accompanying this post, exquisitely painted shadows work alongside colour and light, creating a three dimensional effect. Snowdrop, Galanthus, from the Book of Flower Studies, ca. 1510–1515, The Master of Claude de France (named after his most important female commissioner, Claude, Queen of France). The Met, holder of the manuscript, writes:

“The Book of Flower Studies belongs to what is often dubbed “the last flowering” of northern European manuscript illumination in the medieval tradition. Illuminators working at Tours brought the garden inside to enrich the pages of princely manuscripts… These flowers were painted in witness to their inherent beauty, not gathered merely for their symbolism, nor for their perceived medicinal value. Each of them can be found in the gardens of The Met Cloisters, New York, USA.”

Below, snowdrops from La plante et ses applications ornementales, Paris, Librairie Centrale des Beaux-Arts, E. Lévy, éditeur, 1896.

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