Les Très Riches Heures du Jean Duc de Berry, France ca 1485/90

Musée Condé, Chantilly, MS. Fol. 48r

The picture of the Annunciation of the Birth of Christ to the shepherds created by the Limburgs – comprises within a small space all the excellent characteristics of the manuscript: the connection of heavenly splendour with idyllic nature, of deep piety, courtly self-representation and rural realism.

Within an altar-piece-like golden frame in the blue heights of heaven there are three lively groups of angels: in the raised half-circle of the centre the singers of the annunciation choir with the scroll hanging down to the earth; underneath, on the left, a lute player and a drummer are floating, on the right the trumpet player and the violinist in fluttering robes, shimmering with gold. Gold is the sign of the heavenly messengers.