Anastasia (artist)

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Anastasia (flourished c 1400, Paris) was a French illuminator of manuscripts, apparently specializing in the elaborate decorative borders that were increasingly fashionable, and landscape backgrounds.[1] By her day most manuscripts were produced in commercial workshops, and many artists were women, probably especially those specializing in borders, which were often produced by a different artist from the main miniature image.[1] The School of Paris was still the leading centre of illumination at this period, and Parisian works were widely distributed across Europe.[1]

Nothing is known about her except for the praise heaped upon her by the medieval writer Christine de Pisan in her work, The Book of the City of Ladies (1405). Pisan describes her as the finest illuminator of her day, in her field.[2]

"I know a woman today, named Anastasia, who is so learned and skilled in painting manuscript borders and miniature backgrounds (vignetures d'enlumineure en livres and the champaignes d'ystories)[3] that one cannot find an artisan in all the city of Paris - where the best in the world are found - who can surpass her, nor who can paint flowers and details as delicately as she does, nor whose work is more highly esteemed, no matter how rich or precious the book is. People cannot stop talking about her. And I know this from experience, for she has executed several things for me, which stand out among the ornamental borders of the great masters. (City of Ladies 85)[4]


  1. ^ a b c al, Penelope J. Davies et (2007). Janson's history of art : the western tradition (7th ed.). Upper Saddle River: Pearson/Prentice Hall. p. "Anastasia". ISBN 9780131934689. 
  2. ^ Hindman, Sandra L. (1986). Christine de Pizan's "Epistre Othéa" : painting and politics at the Court of Charles VI. Toronto, Ont., Canada: Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies. p. 69. ISBN 9780888440778. 
  3. ^ Miner, Dorothy Eugenia (1974). Anastaise and her sisters : women manuscript illuminators of the Middle Ages : a twentieth anniversary keepsake, the Baltimore Bibliophiles, 12 November 1974. Baltimore: Walters Art Gallery. p. 21. 
  4. ^ Bell, Susan Groag (2004). The lost tapestries of the City of ladies : Christine de Pizan's Renaissance legacy. Berkeley: University of California Press. p. 154. ISBN 9780520234109.