The Primer of Claude of France


Artists' Techniques

Architectural features as well as the outlines, faces and clothes of the figures were roughly sketched. Sketches were not always followed closely at the painting stage, as is especially apparent in drapery folds.

The naked bodies of Adam and Eve were carefully drawn, particularly the figure of Adam in the bottom left image on fol. 4r. 

A straight line running between or just above the eyes was often drawn to help position them within the face – this is most evident in the figures of the young Virgin Mary and St Anne on fol. 9r.

Select the ‘infrared’ layer when viewing each of the folios on the right to see the underdrawings.

Lightbox: 81
Detail of Claude of France’s face under magnification (7.5x).

Claude of France, kneeling at a prayer desk, is presented by St Claude to the enthroned St Anne who holds an open book on her lap and is teaching the Virgin Mary to read. The prayer desk on which an open book lies, is covered in a blue cloth embroidered with fleurs-de-lis and gold initials C. The arms of Claude’s mother, Anne of Brittany (France impaling Brittany), are held aloft by the angel on a pillar in the right border and are also shown in the lower border encircled by the motto, PENSON EN DIEU, with sprays of blue flowers on either side.