Les Tres Riches Heures du Duc de Berry (1413)
Painting: Les Tres Riches Heures du Duc de Berry
Date: Started c.1413
Artist: Limbourg Brothers (fl.1390-1416)
Medium: Gouache on parchment (vellum)
Genre: Illuminated Book of Hours
Movement: International Gothic
Museum: Musee Conde, Chantilly, France.
For explanations of other pictures, see: Famous Paintings Analyzed.
To understand pictures
like the Duke of Berry's
Book of Hours,
see our educational
article for students:
How to Appreciate Art.
March, Les Tres Riches Heures - History
Lusignan stands for a mighty Poitevin family, who first opposed the dukes of Poitiers and later the Kings of both France and England. The Lusignans are famous for having spread their power around the Mediterranean at the time of the crusades: some members of the family became Kings of Jerusalem, others of Cyprus and even of Armenia. But the ruins of the imposing fortress between Poitiers and La Rochelle particularly remind us of the legendary ancestor of the family, the fairy Melusine. Indeed, this mysterious creature has continued to fascinate people throughout the ages, from medieval poets to modern readers.
In 1393, Jean d’Arras completed his Roman de Melusine, a prose narrative commissioned by the duke Jean de Berry, King Charles V’s brother. Around 1401, the author known as Coudrette also chose to narrate the story of Melusine, the famous fish-tailed Poitevin fairy creature he chose to write in verse, rather than in prose. Coudrette’s version, especially, sheds light on connections between the Lusignans and the sires of Parthenay, his patrons. The fascination with Melusine at the end of the 14 th century certainly is puzzling: one senses History under the veil of Legend. Indeed, both versions do glorify the dominion of the Lusignans, in both Occident and Orient, thanks to the narrative of the fairy’s sons’ conquests. From this point of view, the episode involving the fire at Maillezais – the abbey destroyed and later rebuilt by Geoffroy à la Grand Dent – is of utmost importance because it relates to the conflict between Geoffroy de Lusignan and this mighty institution in the thirteenth century. However, the historical underpinnings of both versions do not explain why Jean d’Arras and Coudrette should champion a family whose hour of glory has long passed: having been driven out by his subjects, Léon de Lusignan, the last King of Armenia, had died during his exile in Paris in 1393.
Both imaginative texts make more sense when read with recent history in mind. In 1369, Charles V had given the territory of Poitou – under English dominion since the treaty of Brétigny (1360) – to his younger brother as an appanage. Consequently, Jean de Berry undertook the reconquest of the domain, laying siege to Lusignan in 1373. The fortress is stoutly defended by John Cresewell, whose testimony Jean d’Arras mentions at the end of his narrative the English captain acknowledges having seen Melusine, as a “serpente”, announcing that it is time to return Lusignan to its legitimate owner. Significantly, Jean de Berry counted himself as a descendant of this noble family through his mother, Bonne de Luxembourg. Art thus serves Politics: aided by Le Roman de Mélusine, the duke can consolidate his claims over Poitou (which had been threatened by the 1392 negotiations between Charles VI and Richard II of England). Such claims are consolidated by Les Très Riches Heures, illustrated by the Limbourg brothers for Jean de Berry in 1414: the illumination for March, featuring the fortress of Lusignan, actually features a dragon flying over the main tower this is Melusine, the very founder of the fortress! The presence of this fairy is not accidental or merely decorative, since Henri V was demanding Poitou as a condition of peace with the French at this time.
Guillaume Larchevêque, Lord of Parthenay, acts similarly to Jean de Berry when ordering a Roman de Mélusine from Coudrette. The commissioner had first supported the English, but then had changed sides during the siege of Lusignan. Can one read the failure of the English knight at Mount Canigou, where Melusine’s sister Palestine guards the treasure, and the death of Geoffroy à la Grand Dent, who has left to undertake the same adventure, as echoing to the Franco-English rivalry? Coudrette then concludes his narrative by an exaltation of Christian values that can be read as a demand to the belligerents to remember their common values and make peace. Nevertheless, the ideal of the crusade develops in both narratives as the exploits of Mélusine’s sons in the Orient and Eastern Europe are depicted. The holy place has to be reconquered, as requested by Léon de Lusignan and Philippe de Mézières – the preceptor of Charles VI and former chancellor of Pierre I de Lusignan, king of Cyprus, whose assassination (in 1369) is hinted at in the last few pages of the prose narrative. As worthy sons of Mélusine, the fairy who founded churches all over Poitou, Geoffroy and his brothers are depicted as defenders of Christianity. While Jean d’Arras’ text concludes by recounting the Lusignan’s decline and leaves the concluding words to History, Coudrette’s Canigou adventure enables not only a celebration of the Parthenay, but also the hope for a revived spirituality. There is no need to say that the defeat of the Christian army against the Ottomans in Nicopolis in 1396 enhances the importance of this renewal. Accordingly, the mysticism of the ultimate crusade under the aegis of the last Emperor, seen to inaugurate a thousand years of happiness, may be interpreted thus: at the beginning of the end of Time, Lusignan stands in the very heart of World History.
Coudrette, Le Roman de Mélusine ou Histoire de Lusignan, edit. Eleanor Roach (Paris : Klincksieck, 1982).
Coudrette, Le Roman de Mélusine, trans. Laurence Harf-Lancner (Paris : GF-Flammarion, 1993).
Coudrette, A Critical Edition of Couldrette’s Mélusine or Le Roman de Parthenay, edit. Matthew W. Morris (Lewiston/Queenston/Lampeter : Edwin Mellen Press, 2003).
Jean d’Arras, Mélusine ou La Noble Histoire de Lusignan, edit. and trans. Jean-Jacques Vincensini (Paris : Le Livre de Poche (Lettres Gothiques), 2003).
Autrand, Françoise, Jean de Berry, l’art et le pouvoir (Paris : Fayard, 2000).
Favier, Jean, La Guerre de Cent Ans (Paris : Fayard, 1980).
Harf-Lancner, Laurence, « Littérature et politique : Jean de Berry, Léon de Lusignan et le Roman de Mélusine », in Histoire et littérature au Moyen Âge, edit. Danielle Buschinger (Göppingen : Kümmerle Verlag, 1991), p. 161-171.
Szkilnik, Michelle, « Maillezais, un lieu de mémoire dans les romans français de Mélusine », in L’Abbaye de Maillezais, des moines du marais aux soldats huguenots (Rennes : Presses Universitaires de Rennes, 2005), p. 29-47.
Wahlen, Barbara, and Mühlethaler, Jean-Claude, « Dépasser le modèle arthurien : Geoffroy la Grand’ Dent, chevalier de la fin des temps ? », in 550 Jahre deutsche Melusine – Coudrette und Thüring von Ringoltingen / 550 ans de Mélusine allemande – Coudrette et Thüring von Ringoltingen, edit. André Schnyder and Jean-Claude Mühlethaler (Bern : Peter Lang, 2008), p. 343-362.
Très Riches Heures du Duc de Berry
Très Riches Heures du Duc de Berry or Très Riches Heures is probably the most important illuminated manuscript of the 15th century, "le roi des manuscrits enluminés" ("the king of illuminated manuscripts"). It is a very richly decorated Book of Hours containing over 200 folios, of which about half are full page illustrations.
It was painted sometime between 1412 and 1416 by the Limbourg brothers for their patron Jean, Duc de Berry . They left it unfinished at their (and the Duke's) death in 1416. Charles I, Duke I of Savoy commissioned Jean Colombe to finish the paintings between 1485-1489.
The Martyrdom of Saint Mark
The Virgin, the Sibyl and the Emperor Augustus
The Garden of Eden
David Foresees the Coming of Christ
David Imagines Christ Elevated Above All Other Beings
David Foresees the Preaching of the Apostles
The Ark of God Carried into the Temple
David Foresees the Mystic Marriage of Christ and the Church
The Sons of Core Thank God for Their Salvation
The Last Judgement
The Building of the Jerusalem Temple
The Baptism of Saint Augustine
God Reigns Over All the Earth
The Three Hebrews Cast into the Fiery Furnace
The Archangel Gabriel Appears to Zachary
David Plays the Harp
The Messiah' Dominions
David Beseeches God Against Evildoers
The Annunciation to the Shepherds
Building in Jerusalem
The Meeting of the Magi
The Adoration of the Magi
The Purification of the Virgin
The Flight into Egypt
The Coronation of the Virgin
The Presentation in the Temple
David and Nathan
David Entrusts a Letter to Uriah
An Attack on a City
The Procession of Saint Gregory
The Procession of Saint Gregory
The Man of Sorrows
Job Mocked by His Friends
The Funeral of Raymond Diocrès
The Horseman of Death
The Penance of David
Lucifer - torturing souls as well as being tortured himself in hell
Where Five Valleys Meet
What a truly remarkable set of images these are and how beautifully they have illuminated each month of the year. The detail which they contain is simply breathtaking and the colours captivating.
Rather sad that Les Tres Riches Heures is no longer available for public viewing but so good that we have enjoyed them through you.
Hello Jane and Lance - these illuminated manuscripts are such a wonderful pictorial documentary of how life was lived by both the aristocrats and the peasants who worked for them during the early 15th century in France - it must be a unique record.
That's like from our life today. Preparing for the cultivating (gardening) season. Lovely! Happy Friday, Rosemary!
Dear Satu - you are right - the seasons of life continue for us in much the same way today. Enjoy the coming weekend.
Beautiful how these 12 images show the months of the year, it is lovely to look at them.
Thank you Janneke - I am pleased that you have enjoyed seeing them. I can't believe how the 12 months have past so quickly since I posted the first one in April 2013.
I have really enjoyed looking at these images every month. The colours have been stunning and the detail fascinating. I wish there were more to see! March was obviously a busy month with a sense of a new farming year beginning and the sowing and ploughing underway. It is a shame that the original can no longer viewed.
Dear Wendy - there are a lot more illuminated manuscripts that were painted by the brothers for the Duc de Berry. There are a total of 206 vellum leaves - I may show some of these in the future. They show such illustrations as The Nativity The Pentecost The Purified souls in Purgatory and the Anatomical Zodiac of Man.
Lovely and I see all is busy after your winter. Would be the opposite down here, getting ready for Autumn which is tomorrow, the 1st day :)
I have become so much more aware of this fact since I have been blogging and have several followers down in your part of the world.
It all looks so placid, peaceful and magnificently organised - quite different from the experience of most people who lived then. Perhaps that was one of its attractions, a colourful and idealised world. I didn't realise that originals were no longer on display.
I suppose that the illustrations were rather idealised, and that is most likely due to them being commissioned from the Duc de Berry. I don't expect he wanted to see a 'warts and all' approach taken with them.
As you suggest life for the peasants would have been very basic and rather miserable during that period as it was in our country too during the early 15th century.
How much, and how little, has changed. It's been fascinating to see the cycle of the seasons played out in these manuscripts. Agriculture must have been very important, given the number of peasants that feature in each of these paintings, but then it was far more labour intensive than today.
I suppose that the biggest changes in agriculture have happened during the 20th century. My husband's father was a farmer and he was still using horses to plough his fields in the 1950s much like the peasant in the manuscript.
Thanks, Rosemary, for sharing these. I've really enjoyed the entire series. Can I pick a favorite? Probably February because of the beauitful snowy fields. How ironic because I am tired of all the snow we've received this winter.
Dear Loi - the snow is very well depicted and a very unusual image for that period when snow was hardly ever painted. The earliest snow painting I can recall is Pieter Bruegel the Elders painting of Hunters in the Snow and that was 150 years after the Très Riches Heures manuscript.
This has been a great series, Rosemary, very enjoyable for us all. Aside from the interesting look at agricultural practices, I love the composition of this one. The diagonals, set off-centre, with the little shrine, and the valley tilting uphill towards the Chateau - very pleasing to the viewer. Oh, and the little gold dragon is gorgeous, an amusing touch.
It is interesting that you should mention the little shrine which then led my eye towards the church on the lefthand side which I had not noticed. Although Château de Lusignan is no more, I wonder if the little shrine is still in existence, I believe that the church is still there.
The lovely season is coming now. Spring.
Here we haven't snow ( until now) this year. and we begin also preperated the garden.
Have a nice Weekend Rosemary.
I do love the prospect of spring Inge - we have not had any snow either, but never say never until the next few weeks have past.
A beautiful glimpse of everyday life in what seems another world - the cycle of the year goes on.
It has been like following an illustrated documentary from 15th century during the past 12 months that I have been posting these manuscripts. As you mention the cycle of the year goes on, and not entirely dissimilar from today.
Dear Rosemary,what a beautiful-collage- calender,you made!!Spring has come and i like it!Thank you for your visit!I really appreciate it!
Wish you a happy new month of March!!
Dear Dimi - I think we are all feeling a sense of joy that spring is now on its way. Hope the month of March is a happy time for you too.
I've enjoyed this remarkable accounting of not only the year, but of 15th-century life. It would be interesting to know how it was valued by the Duc de Berry in terms of how the Limbourg Brothers were repaid. I wonder if they received money, food and lodging, pensions? I imagine it might have been a tenuous life for a 15th-century artist, though everything is relative, isn't it?
Dear Mark - apparently the Duc de Berry valued Herman, Paul and Johan's work highly. In fact Paul especially was on good terms with the duke, and received a court position as valet de chambre or personal attendant. The duke gave him jewellery and a big house in Bourges. Paul was attracted to a young girl called Gillette la Mercière, but her parents disapproved. The duke had the girl confined, and released her only on the king's command. In 1411 Paul and Gillette were married - the girl was 12 Paul was 24 at the time. There were no children, and you may recall that all the Limbourg brothers died of the plague five years later in 1416, they were all under 30 years of age. The Duke also died in 1416 - it is not known whether he died of the plague as he was 75 years old.
Talk:Très Riches Heures du Duc de Berry
In a recent edit, User:Wetman commented it's not a folio. This may be so, but it probably requires further explanation, as most sources (including the image collection on the Commons) seem to refer to the images in relation to their folio. -- Solipsist 19:11, 2 May 2005 (UTC)
I'm not quite sure what wetman means by "its not a folio". He could mean that the the book is not of the size commonly known as folio, which is true. However, so far as no, the boook is foliated, not paginated, that is the each individual leaf is counted rather than each side of a leaf as is done in modern books. Since every reference to the book I have ever seen indicates the folio a miniature is on (assuming that the reference is actually explicit on the issue), rather than the page, the article should give the total number of folios rather than the total number of pages. I don't know the number, but I will endevor to find out. Dsmdgold 21:57, May 2, 2005 (UTC) When you've got it nailed down, it sure would make a good short paragraph in the entry, with a folio linkage, for unilluminated folks like me! --Wetman 22:07, 2 May 2005 (UTC) I have upload this image collection on the Commons. Images are in relation to their folio. I didn't not upload the all folio and the completes pages, only the miniatures. If you need more, i can upload the complete book, and the complete folios. Best regards. Petrusbarbygere 13:20, 14 December 2005 (UTC) Good for you! Mindman1 00:49, 25 July 2007 (UTC)
On the pages for January, April, May, and August, all the writing (not the pictures) is blanked out. Why is this? ZtObOr 16:28, 1 January 2009 (UTC) edit: wow, first comment on this page in 3 years. Exactly 3 years, at that. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Ztobor (talk • contribs) 20:59, 1 January 2009 (UTC)
Note that in March 2012 an undergraduate on the rogue educational project that annually hits articles on medieval art completely replaced the existing article with what is still mostly the current version, which is much longer. Ideally the two need to be merged. Johnbod (talk) 12:01, 18 March 2013 (UTC)
I came to this article from reading two English-language architectural history books, one from an English publisher and the other, American:
- Ayers, Andrew (2004). The Architecture of Paris. Stuttgart London: Edition Axel Menges. ISBN9783930698967.
- Hanser, David A. (2006). Architecture of France. Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press. 9780313319020.
Ayers refer to the work described here as "the Duc de Berry's Très Riches Heures", while Hanser gives "the Très Riches Heures of the Duc de Berry", i.e., they both italicize the simpler title and refer to the book's patron with his French name, but in an English construction. I've since looked at The Dictionary of Art, and that source gives its article the simple title Très Riches Heures, not italicizing it, but italicizing the titles of the individual works from it. Preferring the approach of Ayers and Hanser regarding italics, I changed the Wikipedia article accordingly. Since there is no other article on Wikipedia with the title Très Riches Heures, I felt it should also be moved to the simpler title (over the redirect). --Robert.Allen (talk) 00:05, 15 June 2014 (UTC)
- Another example of the use of italics: The 1991 Encyclopedia Britannica, vol. 2, p. 370, writes "the Très Riches Heures of the Duc de Berry was created in northern France". Update: vol. 7, p. 360 (the article on the Limburg brothers), writes "The Très Riches Heures du duc de Berry (Musée Condé, Chantilly), considered their greatest work" and later in the paragraph "The Très Riches Heures was left unfinished in 1416". OK, I'm not saying the longer name is not used, but the short name is common and unambiguous, so it is no problem for us to use it, plus italics are very commonly used. --Robert.Allen (talk) 04:44, 15 June 2014 (UTC)
- More regarding the name: This work was not given a title by its authors. According to the Dictionary of Art: "Delisle (1884) identified the manuscript . with a description in an inventory made after the death of the Duc in 1416 [mentioned in the Wikipedia article]: 'several gatherings of a very rich Book of Hours, richly historiated and illuminated that Pol and his brothers made'. This attribution has received general acceptance and has provided the manuscript with its name [Très Riches Heures]." As stated above, The Dictionary of Art does not italicize the name, but omits "du duc de Berry" from the title. --Robert.Allen (talk) 05:17, 15 June 2014 (UTC) complains that I cited ONE extra source, but I actually cited two for italics and three for the short name. Now I have shown that The Dictionary of Art uses the short name, and gives the reason why and added another source for italics. Johnbod has cited exactly NONE. So why has an admin changed it back? --Robert.Allen (talk) 05:44, 15 June 2014 (UTC)
- I suppose the argument will be that the writer of the article in The Dictionary of Art is ignorant. --Robert.Allen (talk) 05:51, 15 June 2014 (UTC)
- I also have noticed that 5 of the 7 sources listed here use the short name, Très Riches Heures, in their titles. So why the insistence on the long name? One of the sources with the long name is the Christus Rex, Inc. website. Is this a scholarly source? --Robert.Allen (talk) 06:45, 15 June 2014 (UTC)
- Now let's discuss Husband's book. The writer of the Director's Forward is not the author, it is Philippe de Montebello (not generally thought of as a medievalist). His is the first mention of the Belles Heures in Husband's book, and he uses the long title Belles Heures of Jean de Berry, a hybrid of French and English. The author of the book, Timothy B. Husband, is the Curator, Department of Medieval Art and The Cloisters, The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Husband first uses the title in the Acknowledgments section, where he says "In 1972 the overly tight seventeenth-century binding of the Belles Heures was removed. ". The first sentence in his Preface reads "This volume is the culmination of a career-long fascination with the manuscript known by its medieval appellation as the Belles Heures." Page 2 is a title page for the Introduction. It reads: "Introduction: The Belles Heures of Jean de France". These reverse italics in an italicized title indicate that the title of the work in question is Belles Heures, not Belles Heures of Jean de France. The first sentence of the Introduction reads: "One of the transcendent masterpieces of The Cloisters Collection, the Belles Heures of Jean de France, duc de Berry, evolved in the course. ". Again he is telling us that the title is Belles Heures, not Belles Heures of Jean de France. But we're not really discussing the proper title of Belles Heures here. We're talking about Très Riches Heures. Husband's first mention of this work is on p. viii, the first page of his Preface. He thanks Emmanuelle Toulet at Chantilly "for allowing me to study the Très Riches Heures of the duc de Berry for many uninterrupted hours." Again, he is indicating that the title is Très Riches Heures, not Très Riches Heures du duc de Berry or Très Riches Heures of the duc de Berry. So I fail to see how this book supports using the longer title of either Belles Heures or Très Riches Heures. In fact, I find that it suggests just the opposite. --Robert.Allen (talk) 10:32, 20 June 2014 (UTC)
- "Très Riches Heures du Duc de Berry" is used at first mention, in captions etc, by:
- Edmond Pognon, Les Trés Riches Heures du Duc de Berry, Liber, 1987 (Pognon was chief curator at the BnF)
- Otto Pächt, Book Illumination in the Middle Ages (trans fr German), 1986, Harvey Miller Publishers, London, 0199210608 (top German specialist)
I see this was also reverted. Margaret Manion seems to capitalize the term consistently as Book of Hours, at least in The Dictionary of Art. --Robert.Allen (talk) 07:13, 15 June 2014 (UTC)
Well usage in the field varies, though capitalizing is far more common outside the specialized literature. Book of hours doesn't, and we should try to be consistent. A book of hours is not a specific text but a type of book, and we don't capitalize Missal, Hymn Book, Car Repair Manual or Novel in this way. If you want to change this I suggest you start with a discussion at Talk:Book of hours. Johnbod (talk) 22:59, 15 June 2014 (UTC) Thanks for your reasonable response. I don't feel strongly about this. Lowercase should be fine. --Robert.Allen (talk) 03:05, 19 June 2014 (UTC)
An IP has stated that the "Les Très Riches Heures is crafted on rough, thick parchment, not vellum". I do not have Cazelles and Rathofer, which the body of the article cites for vellum. According to Margaret Manion in The Dictionary of Art it is on "very fine quality parchment". She does not specify vellum. I'm leaving the IP's edit stand, but it seems like we should try to make the article consistent with the lead. --Robert.Allen (talk) 20:19, 19 June 2014 (UTC)
There is no hard and fast difference, and libraries nowadays tend to call both "membrane" (rather wetly imo). I notice, on a quick search, the more scholarly sources mostly use "parchment" while eg Gardner's Art through the Ages, uses vellum. But plenty of RS use either. I doubt if it is "rough, thick" as these things go, but a difference between the hair and skin sides is evident in other Limbourg Bros. MSS, like the Belles Heures. See this passage (the book manages to use both terms for the same MS, see p 327). Johnbod (talk) 21:19, 19 June 2014 (UTC) Thanks. Considering the time span of the work's creation, the folios may vary in the quality of the parchment. Husband does specifically state vellum is used for folios 64 (fig. 142, p. 299) and 156 (fig. 137, p. 297), the first ones I looked at, but I don't have the time right now to search further. --Robert.Allen (talk) 23:20, 19 June 2014 (UTC) Authors will use either term. Those using "parchment" are essentially denying that "vellum" exists as a distinct category. If you accept that it does, then nearly all expensive MS like the TRH are made of it (except perhaps some very early Insular ones). Johnbod (talk) 00:32, 20 June 2014 (UTC) BTW, Stockstad seems to be an art history textbook . The IP has also contributed to James Lick High School. --Robert.Allen (talk) 23:33, 19 June 2014 (UTC) It is - now the usual textbook for American introductory undergraduate courses on medieval art. Johnbod (talk) 00:32, 20 June 2014 (UTC)
Camille 1990 does say the ms became inaccessible (possibly about the time the Faksimile-Verlag edition was published in 1984 – costing about "ten thousand dollars"). I thought Camille's comment regarding the motivation for it was perhaps somewhat cynical, and the evidence for his view, circumstantial. In any case, accessibility seems to have changed since 1990. Husband, certainly a well-placed scholar, states he gained access (probably not long before he published in 2008, altho he does not say exactly when). Perhaps we should mention he has seen it, since the French (esp. the Chantilly Library people) may have become a bit concerned about this issue. --Robert.Allen (talk) 17:34, 22 June 2014 (UTC)
Janet Backhouse is quoted by Camille grumbling about it in January 1987. No doubt they take it out every now and then to check conservation, or shoot more photos. Refs/links re Husband? Johnbod (talk) 18:01, 22 June 2014 (UTC) I was mainly referring to his implication that they wanted to reduce direct access to the ms to increase the value of the 1984 reproduction, not whether they actually did it. I'm sure he's probably right that access became highly restricted. In any case, we know that at least one scholar got to see it (very likely) since 1990. --Robert.Allen (talk) 08:52, 23 June 2014 (UTC) It was interesting to me to see that a French Wikipedia editor was able to get digital copies from what seems to be the original manuscript from the RMN website that are higher resolution than the ones I have been able to find there. He uploaded (in 2011) copies of every page, including pics of the covers and spine. --Robert.Allen (talk) 09:08, 23 June 2014 (UTC) Stirnemann & Rabel (The Burlington Magazine, Vol. 147, No. 1229 (Aug., 2005), pp. 534-538) mention a 2004 CD-ROM with these images, so I suppose since it is Commons:Category:Très Riches Heures du Duc de Berry scan 2004, the images must actually be off the CD-ROM. --Robert.Allen (talk) 07:29, 25 June 2014 (UTC) JB - I own Husband's book and can look to see what's said there re seeing the mss in Chantilly. But not today if that's okay. Victoria (tk) 18:07, 22 June 2014 (UTC) I can see it in the Google preview here, but not all visitors to the site will get access. Sometimes depending on how much you have looked at the book, they reduce access. Husband thanks Emmanuelle Toulet at Chantilly "for allowing me to study the Très Riches Heures of the duc de Berry for many uninterrupted hours." It's on p viii. --Robert.Allen (talk) 18:22, 22 June 2014 (UTC) Yes, but he's the MMA curator. Depends who you are I imagine. Worth a footnote anyway. Johnbod (talk) 08:58, 23 June 2014 (UTC) Exactly my point. (Can MMA can also be the Museum of Modern Art? No, I guess that's MOMA.) --Robert.Allen (talk) 09:11, 23 June 2014 (UTC)
The titles of individual illuminations are italicized in almost all the sources I have looked at. Usually these titles are in English, so we cannot say this use of italics is due to the phrase being in French. Although Manion does not italicize Tres Riches Heures, she does italicize the titles of the separate illustrations. I followed her lead, without thinking too much about it at the time, when I added the list of illuminations that were inserted as single leaves. I think we should italicze these titles in our article, since it seems to be the usual practice. --Robert.Allen (talk) 18:35, 22 June 2014 (UTC)
Needless to say, these are not actual titles, but a descriptive phrase for the subjects of the images, as chosen by either an author, or any Wikipedian editor - and will vary greatly. Some should probably be capitalized, especially if using the usual name in art history for common religious subjects, but in general capitalizing them is taking them too seriously imo. Johnbod (talk) 19:44, 22 June 2014 (UTC) It seems to me that most sources italicize them, and that's what counts, not our opinions on the subject. Which sources (in English) do not italicize them? --Robert.Allen (talk) 21:46, 22 June 2014 (UTC) I noticed that Bober does not italicize the title for Zodiac Man. Maybe some of the other books you mentioned don't either. However, besides Manion, Harbison, Husband, and Dückers & Roelofs all do. (PS - Are you experiencing problems with the server not responding? I sure am.) --Robert.Allen (talk) 00:17, 23 June 2014 (UTC) Well I don't have strong objections, although I don't think January etc should be italicized as titles. Some of the current "titles" are very home-made & should be changed. Johnbod (talk) 09:01, 23 June 2014 (UTC) Ideally they should all come from a bona fide source, although I don't think we have to footnote them! --Robert.Allen (talk) 09:14, 23 June 2014 (UTC) Actually the months might look nice in italics. --Robert.Allen (talk) 09:16, 23 June 2014 (UTC)
I think the first paragraph should include a translation of the title, but I'm not sure of how you would translate it. The Very Rich Hours of the Duke of Berry? Kent Wang (talk) 01:48, 27 November 2014 (UTC)
Wouldn't the translation rather be "The Very Lavish Book of Hours of the Duke of Berry"?¨184.108.40.206 (talk) 15:59, 13 January 2019 (UTC)
Yes, rather better, but the "rich" one is referenced to a non-RS source. Johnbod (talk) 22:25, 13 January 2019 (UTC)
In the Calendar illuminations for January, April, May and August the male aristocrats are shown without any footwear, whether indoors or outdoors, and even when wearing spurs. (Long dresses conceal the female aristocrats' feet.) This appears to have been a fashion among upper class men in the early 15th Century, at least in France. There are examples in other artworks from this period. That raises several questions about the practicality of this practice. Would it have been comfortable? And how could they avoid soiling the soles of their hose? Of course, they may have had concealed soft-leather soles attached to the feet of the hose, like some modern ballet slippers - the soles of the feet aren't shown. Interestingly, in Laurence Olivier's film of Shakespeare's "Henry V" (1944) - which drew on these illuminations for its costume designs - the matter was dealt with by simply giving the men anachronistic hard-leather shoes with heels. O Murr (talk) 07:16, 13 May 2019 (UTC)
They very probably also used Patten (shoe)s, but I seem to be seeing more shoes than you - eg on the spurred youth in January. Johnbod (talk) 12:54, 13 May 2019 (UTC)
Supremacy and Survival: The English Reformation
Tomorrow, August 31, will be the 598th anniversary of King Henry V's death at the Château de Vincennes east of Paris. His death came suddenly during his 1421-1422 campaign in France, having captured Drieux and Meaux.
Last week Turner Classic Movies broadcast Laurence Olivier's 1944 film of Shakespeare's Henry V, which I had never seen before. From the openly panorama of London with the transition to inside the Globe Theatre to the battle scenes filmed in Ireland, the conceit of Olivier's design of the movie was a great adaptation of the the Chorus' appeal to the audience:
. . . Can this cockpit hold
The vasty fields of France? Or may we cram
Within this wooden O the very casques
That did affright the air at Agincourt?
O pardon! since a crooked figure may
Attest in little place a million,
And let us, ciphers to this great accompt,
On your imaginary forces work.
Suppose within the girdle of these walls
Are now confin’d two mighty monarchies,
Whose high upreared and abutting fronts
The perilous narrow ocean parts asunder
Piece out our imperfections with your thoughts.
Into a thousand parts divide one man,
And make imaginary puissance.
Think, when we talk of horses, that you see them
Printing their proud hoofs i’ th’ receiving earth.
For ’tis your thoughts that now must deck our kings,
Carry them here and there, jumping o’er times,
Turning the accomplishment of many years
Into an hour-glass: for the which supply,
Admit me Chorus to this history
Who prologue-like your humble patience pray,
Gently to hear, kindly to judge, our play.
We're seeing on the scene what the Chorus wants the audience in the Globe to see in their imaginations, creating images in their minds. The gorgeous technicolor with all the reds, blues, greens, and golds (the Criterion website posts a trailer) was thrilling and added to the cinematic verisimilitude of the imaginary play: we don't have to use our imaginations because it's been put before us on the screen. Even though I've enjoyed the soundtrack to Kenneth Branagh's 1989 version for years, I know that Sir William Walton's work is considered classic. There are two suites from the film's score, one arranged by Sir Malcolm Sargent and the other by Muir Mathieson. I recognized the French folk song tune adapted by Canteloube, "Baïlèro".
But what I enjoyed most about the film was Olivier's use of Les Tres Riches Heures du Duc de Berry for the scenes in France. For example, in Act V, Scene I, Gower, Pistol, and Lewellen are in the English camp and Pistol is in a lean-to warming himself by the fire just as in the wintry scene for the month of February. The use of the colors, the interior settings, clothing, and landscape from the beautifully decorated Breviary created for John, the Duke of Berry, himself a minor character in the play, added to the storytelling magic of the film.
Although the battle scenes are not as naturalistic as those in Kenneth Branagh's film, they contrast greatly with the those Tres Riches Heures scenes. One way that Branagh's film and Doyle's score, in my opinion, surpasses Olivier and Walton is Doyle's Non Nobis Domine at the end of the battle of Agincourt. Walton's setting of Psalm 151:1 is a quick transition to the next scene but Doyle's builds to a beautiful choral and orchestral and cinematic climax.
But Olivier's Henry V, made during World War II, is a beautiful film and was a great achievement at its time--when you consider that the animation at the beginning of the film was not created digitally as it would be now! Perhaps a computer would create some more faked realistic movement of the flags, birds, and trees, but I believed that I was seeing London in 1600 with Shakespeare sitting on a stool in the Globe, ready with his manuscript to prompt a line and give some stage direction.
September Très Riches Heures de Duc de Berry
This grape-picking scene from the Très Riches Heures is one that was completed after the death of the book of hours’ original owner, Jean Duc de Berry. The Duke died in 1416, as did the three Limbourg brothers. In 1485, the Duc de Savoie, who acquired the unfinished manuscript, had the artist Jean Colombe finish half of September. Jean Colombe relied on a placeholder sketch previously made by the original artist. The top portion of the scene, featuring the Château de Saumur, was completed earlier.
In the warmer wine-producing parts of Europe, September, even now, brings the grape harvest. Peasants took to the fields in September to pick the grapes, engaging in the standard labor of the month depicted in the the calendar pages of books of hours for the month of September (at least in warmer climates).
If you look at the detail from the central portion of this calender page for Sepetember, you can see that the Château has a mote, with what appears to be a small draw bridge before the entry. A woman with a basket on her head is entering, and a horse (surprisingly it does not appear to be a donkey) with panniers is leaving. Between the Château and the grape vines is an enclosure that served as a tilting ground for tournaments. Just to the right of the tilting ground stands an ox.
In the lower portion of the scene, the grape pickers cut bunches of grapes from the vines and place them in baskets. If you look closely, the two pickers on the bottom left, both in grey, a woman wearing a white apron and a dark head-cloth and a man in grey, appear to be holding grape knives these knives would also have been used earlier in the year to trim the vines.  Called a billhook, this frequently used gardening tool had a double-edged curved blade and sometimes, an additional spike or point. It’s not that different from a modern grape harvesting knife. … Continue reading Baskets of grapes are filled and placed in the panniers on the donkeys, or in the large barrels in the ox cart to the right. On the bottom left, a woman in blue and red with a adjusting her maroon head scarf and a white apron appears to be very pregnant. Just behind her, to the right, a young man in brown is sampling the grapes. In the middle right, a peasant is mooning the viewer.
The work was commissioned in about 1380 or 1390, perhaps by the person who later owned it, Jean, Duc de Berry, brother of Charles V of France, and the leading commissioner of illuminated manuscripts of the day. The original commissioner was certainly a great person of the French court – Louis II, Duke of Bourbon, uncle of the King and Berry, has also been suggested.  It seems to have been conceived, very unusually, as a combined book of hours, prayer-book and missal, all parts to be lavishly illustrated. The first artist involved was the leading master of the period known as the Master of the Narbonne Parement.  There was another campaign by other artists in about 1405, by which time the manuscript was probably owned by the Duke of Berry, who had certainly acquired it by 1413, when the work, still very incomplete, was given to the Duke's treasurer, Robinet d'Estampes, who divided it.  D'Estampes retained most of the actual book of hours, whose illustrations were largely complete, which became known as the Très Belles Heures de Notre-Dame.  This remained in his family until the 18th century, and was finally given to the BnF in Paris (MS: Nouvelle acquisition latine 3093  ) by the Rothschild family in 1956, after they had owned it for nearly a century. This section contains 126 folios with 25 miniatures, the latest perhaps of about 1409, and includes work by the Limbourg brothers. 
Robinet d'Estampes appears to have sold the other sections, with completed text but few illustrations other than the borders, and by 1420 these were owned by John, Count of Holland, or a member of his family, who commissioned a new generation of Netherlandish artists to resume work.  It is the miniatures of this phase that are of the greatest interest. Two further campaigns, or phases of decoration, can be seen, the last work being of near the mid-century. The art historian Georges Hulin de Loo distinguished the work of eleven artists – "Hand A" to "Hand K" – in the work.   By this stage the manuscript appears to have been owned by, or at least was at the court of, Philip the Good, Duke of Burgundy – another argument for the involvement of Jan van Eyck who moved from the employment of the counts of Holland to the court of Burgundy, apparently taking the work with him.
Most of this part of the work, the prayer-book section, known as the Turin Hours, belonged by 1479 to the House of Savoy, later Kings of Piedmont (and subsequently Italy), who gave it in 1720 to the National Library in Turin. Like many other manuscripts it was destroyed, or virtually so, in a fire in 1904. This portion contained 93 leaves with 40 miniatures.  However the missal portion of the work, known as the Milan Hours, was bought in Paris in 1800 by an Italian princely collector. After the fire, this part, containing 126 leaves with 28 miniatures, was also acquired by Turin in 1935,  and is in the Civic Museum there (MS 47). Eight leaves had been removed from the original Turin portion, probably in the 17th century, of which four, with five miniatures, are in the Louvre. Four of the five large miniatures are by the earlier French artists, with one from the later Flemish phases (RF 2022–2025).  A single leaf with miniatures from the last phase of decoration was bought by the Getty Museum in 2000, reputedly for a million US dollars, having been in a Belgian private collection. 
The page size is about 284 x 203 mm. Nearly all the pages illustrated with miniatures have the same format, with a main picture above four lines of text and a narrow bas-de-page ("foot of the page") image below. Most miniatures mark the beginning of a section of text, and the initial is a decorated or historiated square. Often the bas de page image shows a scene of contemporary life related in some way to the main devotional image, or an Old Testament subject. The borders, with one exception, all follow the same relatively simple design of stylised foliage, typical of the period when the work was started, and are largely or completely from the first phase of decoration in the 14th century. These would have been done by less senior artists in the workshop, or even sub- contracted out. During the earlier campaigns, the borders are further decorated by the miniaturists with small angels, animals (mostly birds), and figures, but the later artists usually did not add these.
The single exception to the style of the borders is a destroyed page, with the main miniature a Virgo inter virgines by Hand H. The border here is in a richer and later 15th century style, from 1430 at the earliest, partly overpainting a normal border, which has also been partly scraped off. This is probably because the original border contained a portrait of a previous owner, of which traces can be seen. 
The Paris Très Belles Heures probably originally contained 31 instead of the current 25 illustrated pages,  which when added to 40 in the original Turin portion, 28 in the Milan-Turin portion, 5 in the Louvre and 1 in Malibu, gives a total of at least 105 illustrated pages, a very large number, approaching the 131 illustrated pages of the Très Riches Heures du Duc de Berry, which also took many decades to complete.
The French art historian Paul Durrieu fortunately published his monograph, with photographs, on the Turin Hours in 1902, two years before it was burnt. He was the first to recognise that the Turin and Milan Hours were from the same volume, and to connect them with the van Eyck brothers. Georges Hulin de Loo, in his work on the Milan portion published in 1911 (by which time the Turin portion was already lost), made a division of the artists into "Hands" A–K in what he thought was their chronological sequence. This has been broadly accepted – as regards the lost Turin portion few have been in a position to dispute it – but attribution has been the subject of great debate, and Hand J in particular is now sub-divided by many. Hands A–E are French, from before the division of the work, Hands G–K are Netherlandish from after it, and Hand F has been attributed to both groups. 
The dating of the Hand G miniatures has been placed at various points between 1417 and the late 1430s. The pages attributed to him are universally agreed to be the most innovative Hulin de Loos described these miniatures as "the most marvelous that had ever decorated a book, and, for their time the most stupefying known to the history of art. For the first time we see realized, in all of its consequences, the modern conception of painting. For the first time since antiquity, painting recovers the mastery of space and light"  Hulin de Loos thought these the work of Hubert van Eyck, who, like most art historians of the time, he also believed to be the main artist of the Ghent Altarpiece. He thought the less exciting, but similar, Hand H might be Jan van Eyck.  Since then art historical opinion has shifted to see both Hand G and most of the Ghent Altarpiece as the work of Jan  Max J. Friedländer,  Anne van Buren and Albert Châtelet were among the proponents of this view. More recently, some art historians see Hand G as a different but related artist, in some ways even more innovative than the famous brothers.  Proponents of this view highlight the many close compositional, iconographical and typographical similarities to van Eyck's panel paintings of the 1430s. 
The pages attributed to Hand H include the Agony in the Garden, Way to Calvary and Crucifixion. They are usually dated after 1416–1417, typically 1422–1424, based on their style and on possible identifications of the donors. Hulin de Loo considered them van Eyck's "juvenilia" Friedländer and Panofsky associated them with the workshop of van Eyck. Although the leaves are not as refined and do not evince the same technical ability as those of Hand G, they contain realistic and unflinching depictions of human distress and a number of iconographic and stylistic innovations that suggest they are copies of prototypes by Jan.  Charles Sterling notes similarities between Hand H and passages in the New York Crucifixion and Last Judgement diptych miniature, a work for which completion dates as wide as 1420–1438 have been suggested, and which is known to have been finished by members of Jan's workshop.  He notes the influence on van Eyck's successor in Bruges, Petrus Christus, who is known to have served as a journeyman in Jan's studio from the early 1430s. He suggests that the Agony in the Garden in particular was influential on painters in the 1430s, especially on southern German painters such as Hans Multscher and Lodewijck Allynckbrood who produced a number of works clearly indebted to Hand H. 
Hands I–K are all working in a similar Eyckian style, perhaps following underdrawing or sketches by Hand G, and are usually seen as members of Jan's workshop, although many now think work continued after Jan's death, which was by 1441 (Hubert had died in 1426). Many iconographical, as well as stylistic correspondences have been noted with other manuscripts and painting produced in Bruges from the 1430s on, and it seems clear that the manuscript was located there at this time. Numerous suggestions have been made as to their identities, mostly as anonymous illuminators named after a particular work. Hand K is the latest and generally the weakest of the later group, working up to about 1450, and "probably painting outside the workshop environment" he is often identified as, or linked with, the Master of the Llangattock Hours. 
Often the bas-de-page and main miniature are by different artists, as in the Getty's leaf, and also the borders and historiated initials.
Hand G, who may or may not have been Jan van Eyck, paralleled the achievement and innovation of that artist's panel paintings in the miniature form, firstly in the technical development of the tempera medium and use of glazes to achieve unprecedented detail and subtlety, and also in his illusionist realism, especially seen in interiors and landscapes – the John the Baptist page shows both well.  Many of the background portions of the attributed leaves seem concerned with the depiction of receding space, and it is often thought that in this aspect that the work of Hand G is most innovative. However, from the earlier pages he seems to be grappling with the techniques for the first time. He was successful early on in showing space receding over reflective water or within interior spaces, but appears to have experienced more difficulty with landscape.  Early attempts, for example Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane in which three imposing figures in the foreground are presented before a distant hillscape, see him, perhaps crudely, eliminating the mid-ground to create the illusion of distance. Yet the underdrawing show him already experimenting with more effective and innovative techniques he was later to master, such as lowering the line of the horizon, and using radiating verticals to increase the sense of depth. 
Only three pages at most attributed to Hand G now survive, those with large miniatures of the Birth of John the Baptist, the Finding of the True Cross – not accepted by all –  (both shown above), and the Office of the Dead (or Requiem Mass), with the bas-de-page miniatures and initials of the first and last of these. Four more were lost in 1904: all the elements of the pages with the miniatures called The Prayer on the Shore (or Duke William of Bavaria at the Seashore, the Sovereign's prayer etc.), and the night-scene of the Betrayal of Christ (which was already described by Durrieu as "worn" before the fire), the Coronation of the Virgin and its bas-de-page, and the large picture only of the seascape Voyage of St Julian & St Martha.  Examination under infra-red light has shown underdrawing for a different composition in the Birth of John the Baptist, who was the patron saint of John, Count of Holland.  The unique and enigmatic seashore subject seems to illustrate an episode from the ferocious internal politics of the family, who can be clearly identified by the arms on a banner. Châtelet suggests the Peace of Woodrichem in 1419, when John succeeded in wresting control of her inheritance from his unlucky niece Jacqueline, Countess of Hainaut. The bas-de-page shows another landscape, of flat Dutch countryside, looking forward to the Dutch Golden Age painting of the 17th century. 
Châtelet contrasts the Turin miniatures with those of the Limbourg brothers, which show faces in profile, with the clothes barely modeled onto the bodies, and the figures not integrated into the space of the miniature. In the Hand G images the figures are fully modelled, as are their clothes, shown from a variety of angles, and are rather small, not dominating the space of their setting. Chiaroscuro modelling gives depth and realism to both figures and setting.  For Friedlaender "The local colours are adjusted to the dominant tone with inexplicable confidence. The gliding of shadows, the rippling of waves, the reflection in the water, cloud formations: all that is most evanescent and most delicate is expressed with easy mastery. A realism that the entire century failed to reach seems to have been achieved once by the impetus of the first attack". 
Kenneth Clark, who thought Hand G to be Hubert, agreed: "Hubert van Eyck has, at one bound, covered a space in the history of art which the prudent historian would have expected to last over several centuries", and singled out praise for the innovations in the subtle depictions of landscape. Of the seashore scene he says: "The figures in the foreground are in the chivalric style of the de Limbourgs but the sea shore beyond them is completely outside the fifteenth-century range of responsiveness, and we see nothing like it again until Jacob van Ruisdael's beach-scenes of the mid-seventeenth century."  Marine art historian Margarita Russell, describes the Hand G marine scenes as "capturing the first true vision of pure seascape" in art. Some (but not all) of the miniatures in the Limbourg brothers' especially ornate Très Riches Heures du Duc de Berry, which is contemporary or slightly earlier, contain innovative depictions of reflections in water, but these are taken further in the Hand G miniatures. 
As Thomas Kren points out, the earlier dates for Hand G precede any known panel painting in an Eyckian style, which "raise[s] provocative questions about the role that manuscript illumination may have played in the vaunted verisimilitude of Eyckian oil painting".  Otto Pächt emphasized the "spatial conflict" that affected illusionistic manuscript miniatures, sharing the page with text, in a way that did not affect panel paintings: "the necessity of having to look into the page of the book, however cleverly contrived, meant that from now on the book housed a picture as an alien body on which it no longer had any formal influence".  Debate on Hand G's identity continues. 
Facsimile editions have been published of the surviving Turin section (1994:980 copies), accompanied by a large commentary,  and separately of the BnF "Très Belles Heures de Notre Dame",  and of the Louvre leaves (which includes photographs of the burnt Turin pages).  The 1902 volume of Durrieu has also been republished (Turin 1967), with new photographs from the original negatives, and a new introduction by Châtelet. The quality of the photos, or their reproduction, have been criticised in both editions. 
Additionally, digital facsimiles exist of all sections of the manuscript.
Around 1398, after their father's death, the brothers were sent for by their uncle Jean Malouel (or Johan Maelwael, Jehan Maleuel in original French sources), the most important painter for the French and Burgundian courts of the time. Herman and Johan learned the craft of goldsmithing in Paris. At the end of 1399 they were travelling to visit Nijmegen but, owing to a war, they were captured in Brussels. Since their mother could not pay the ransom of 55 gold escuz, the local goldsmiths' guild started to collect the money. Eventually Philip the Bold paid the ransom for the sake of their uncle Malouel, his painter. The two boys were released in May 1400.
From surviving documents it is known that in February 1402 Paul and Johan were contracted by Philip to work for four years exclusively on illuminating a bible. This may or may not have been the Bible Moralisée (Ms. fr. 166 in the Bibliothèque nationale de France in Paris), which is indisputably an early work by the Limbourg brothers. Philip II died in 1404 before the brothers had completed their work.
After Philip's death, Herman, Paul, and Johan later in 1405 came to work for his brother John, Duke of Berry, who was an extravagant collector of arts and especially books. Their first assignment was to illuminate a Book of Hours, now known as the Belles Heures du Duc de Berry held in The Cloisters of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.
This work was finished in 1409 much to the satisfaction of the duke, and he assigned them to an even more ambitious project for a book of hours. This became the Très Riches Heures du Duc de Berry, which is widely regarded as the peak of late medieval book illumination, and possibly the most valuable book in the world. It is kept as Ms. 65 in the Musée Condé in Chantilly, France.
Paul especially was on good terms with the duke, and received a court position as valet de chambre, or personal attendant (his uncle had had the same position with the duke of Burgundy). The duke gave him jewelry and a large house in Bourges. Paul was attracted to a young girl, Gillette la Mercière, but her parents disapproved. The duke had the girl confined, and released her only on the king's command. In 1411 Paul and Gillette married anyway, but the marriage remained childless (the girl was 12, her husband 24 at the time).
In the first half of 1416, Jean de Berry and the three Limbourg brothers – all less than 30 years old – died, possibly of the plague, leaving the Très Riches Heures unfinished. An unidentified artist (possibly Barthélemy van Eyck) worked on the famous calendar miniatures in the 1440s when the book apparently was in the possession of René d'Anjou, and in 1485 Jean Colombe finished the work for the House of Savoy.
The work of the Limbourg brothers, being mostly inaccessible, became forgotten until the 19th century. Nevertheless, they set an example for the next generations of painters, which extended beyond miniature painting. They worked in a Northern European tradition, but display influences from Italian models.
Watch the video: Les Très Riches Heures du Duc de Berry