Simon de Varie Kneeling in Prayer
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Partial gift of Gerald F. Borrmann

Jean Fouquet
French, Tours, 1455
Tempera colors and gold paint on parchment
4 1/2 x 3 1/4 in.
MS. 7, FOL. 2

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As part of the multi-page frontispiece to his personal prayer book, the patron, Simon de Varie, kneels in prayer to the Virgin. She appears in the miniature on the facing page, enthroned with the baby Jesus. Although not a soldier, Varie wears armor and a surcoat decorated with the fleur-de-lis. Behind him a female attendant supports a shield crowned with his family emblems, while similar coats of arms, now partially overpainted, and Varie's personal mottoes decorate the border. These signs of his new noble status are clearly significant to Varie, who rose from the merchant class through his work as an official in the French royal treasury.

Although the artist Jean Fouquet presented Simon and the Virgin in separate miniatures, he linked the interior spaces of the two illuminations. The floor tiles on both pages share the same vanishing point, so that the lines of recession suggested by the floor tiles converge at a point between the two miniatures. This device suggests that, despite the red curtain behind the Virgin and the blue curtain behind Varie, the figures occupy the same room.

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