Too fragile to touch, too beautiful to remain unknown. The prayer book that once belonged to Duchess Mary of Guelders is the greatest work of art from medieval Guelders. In 2015, this book will be exactly six hundred years old. It’s famous but unknown, since it cannot be examined before undergoing extensive restoration. Medievalist Johan Oosterman wants to achieve this with your help.
For Professor Oosterman, one thing is certain: this masterpiece from Guelders is crucial for understanding early Netherlandish art. But how was it made? Which examples was it based on? What type of parchment and pigments were used? Why did Maria choose the text to be written in a local Dutch dialect instead of the more common Latin or her native French? What does this book tell us about the early period in Dutch art? How innovative was the Arnhem and Nijmegen region at the start of the fifteenth century?
Unfortunately, the book has become so fragile and damaged after centuries of use that it can no longer be consulted by scholars or admired by the public. It has been taken apart and is currently locked up in its box in the Berlin State Library. Restoration is essential!
Give the prayer book the recognition it deserves
‘The prayer book of Mary of Guelders deserves a special place in history,’ says Johan Oosterman. ‘I’d like the book to be restored and make it accessible again, so that it can be studied and displayed. This requires funding – 25,000 euros is a good start. Anyone can make a large or small donation, for example, by adopting a page.’
We need your help
Help give this Dutch masterpiece its much-deserved place in history by donating through this site! All donations are welcome. Together, we can make the restoration possible. Thank you very much for your support!
For more information (in Dutch) about this book, about Oosterman and the progress of the restoration, visit www.mariavangelre.nl.