Resplendent Illuminations

Books of Hours from the 13th to the 16th Century in Quebec Collections

From September 5, 2018 to January 6, 2019

This is the very first exhibition at the MMFA dedicated to the books of hours in medieval and Renaissance art offering a chance to discover an overlooked heritage through a remarkable selection of illuminations and bound manuscripts preserved in Quebec, dating from the 13th to the 16th centuries. Books of hours were created for lay people and were popularized by the Christian faithful. These manuscripts were, for the most part, personalized and illuminated with miniature paintings―or illuminations―illustrating the life of Christ, the saints or the Virgin Mary. They incorporated a calendar of holy and religious feasts, passages from the gospels and prayers. The result of significant academic research, this exhibition comprises more than 50 artifacts (leaves, complete manuscripts, prints), which offer a closer look of these treasures gathered from seven collections.

An exhibition organized by the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, in collaboration with Université du Québec à Montréal and McGill University.


The exhibition is accompanied by the Catalogue raisonné des livres d’Heures conservés au Québec, published by Presses de l’Université du Québec and edited by Brenda Dunn-Lardeau. The Books of Hours, manuscripts for the most part, are remarkable for their textual and iconographic diversity. The catalogue presents this priceless European heritage from 1225 to 1583 and conserved in North America. Special attention was paid to their complex history and to identifying the artists who created them, since these miniatures elevate Books of Hours to the ranks of unique, high-quality works of art.

Available at the Museum Boutique and Bookstore. In French. Softcover, $48; hardcover, $55.