- Horae Beatae Mariae Virginis (Use of Paris), created circa 1460s, is an example of a Book of Hours, a personal prayer book. Notably popular in medieval Europe, a Book of Hours consisted of collections of Christian prayers created to assist its owner in prayer recitation at different times, or “hours,” of the day. The manuscripts were written in Latin as it was the language of the medieval church. Intended for individual use at home, a Book of Hours was a simplified version of the daily prayers observed by members of the clergy and monastic orders. These books were often passed down through generations of a family as an heirloom. The high cost of commissioning such a work made a Book of Hours a source of pride in addition to being a source of devotion. Commissioned versions of these books were tailored to the particular requirements of its owner, varying in content, order, and level of decoration. Horae Beatae Mariae Virginis (Use of Paris) incorporates Morae de Sancta Cruce, Horae de Sanctu Spiritu, the Passion Sequences, the Stabat Mater, and other prayers. The illuminations in this Book of Hours (26 total) are believed to be the work of four artists; influences include Master of Jean Rolin II; the Bedford Master; and the styles associated with central France, southeastern France, and Besançon regions. This work was rebound in the 18th century. Provenance information for this work includes Francois Cesar Le Tellier, the marquis of Courtanvaux (1718-1781). Other indications of the original patron are the presence of Arnulf of Tours as fourth in the litany of martyrs, and Claude of Besançon in the memorials.
- Romant de la Rose (or Roman de la Rose) tells the story of a lover who dreams of a beautiful rose kept captive in a castle. The allegorical poem was composed in medieval France at the height of the age of chivalry and courtly love by Guillaume de Lorris and Jean de Meun. Beginning to write Roman de la Rose in the late 1230s, de Lorris left the work unfinished when he died ca. 1278. De Meun, also spelled de Meung, completed the lengthy work of poetry ca. 1270-80, building on the concept of courtly love while incorporating his own poetic style. In the story, the twenty-five-year-old narrator recounts in the first person a dreamed journey into a beautiful garden inhabited by Déduit (Pleasure) and his companions, Jeunesse (Youth), Richesse (Wealth), Liesse (Jubilation), and Beauté (Beauty). L’Amant (the Lover) went to select a rose blossom from the Fountain of Narcissus, when he was shot with several arrows by the God of Love, leaving him forever enamored of one specific flower. In the quest to pick the Rose (and conquer Love), the flower and its attendants represent the Lady and her sentiments while being wooed. Personified courtly ideals comprise the actors in the fable, which tells the adventures of the Lover who must avoid the traps of Male Bouche (Foul Mouth), Dangiers (Danger), and Jalousie (Jealousy) to win his lady, the Rose. Jean de Meun concludes the narrative with a bawdy account of the plucking of the Rose, achieved through deception, which is not consistent with Guillaume de Lorris’ original idealized version of the quest for love. Around 300 manuscripts of the Roman de la Rose have been preserved around the world.