02 February 2009

February : the Tres Riches Heures

Tres Riches Heures of the Jean , Duc de Berry.

the Art of three brothers named Limbourg: Pol, Jean and Herman.
A testimony to the brothers' art and Duc de Berry's love of art and his enormous wealth.

the Duc-French royalty. the Limbourgs-German.

the plate as depicted in the Book

The Book of Hours is the last and finest of the Limbourgs- who died of the plague, as did the Duc: the plague knew neither wealth, nor artist. The Duc commissioned the Limbourgs in 1413 and all died in 1416.

Many illuminated manuscripts of the day were rendered in a stylized manner, but the Brothers Limbourg illustrations in the Book signal a return to realism. What appears to be- was- the sky blue, brown nuances of winter. The Book was a day book as we might know it today, containing calendar, psalms, prayers. The Book of Hours is small-A Miniature- the plate February-shown here, is in reality about 5 inches by 9 inches. Each of the miniatures is more amazing than the next- the Limbourgs' powers of observation, attention to detail- not to mention skill are unmatched in their genre.

One of the pigments used in the Book is ultramarine(blue). Used in the smallest of touches in this plate depicting the peasants winter- Ultramarine- was considered more precious than gold. During this time it was only found in one Afghanistan mine.

Another slight touch is the lively stroke of PINK on the skirt of the bundled peasant. MADDER - a dye from the root of the Rubia tinctorum, was the most common source used to attain the reds, PINKS, and purples of the period.

madder lake

Rubia Tintorum

madder : PINK


  1. lovely post- enjoy them immensely. your knowledge of art is refreshing and vast.

  2. Very interesting!!! and enjoyable. Thank you for the comment on Michael Smith too - a little late!




Related Posts with Thumbnails