Les Très Belles Heures de Notre-Dame
- Publisher / Year
- Faksimile Verlag – Munich, 1992
- Limited edition:
Nouv.acq.lat.3093 - Bibliothèque nationale de France (Paris, France)
Les Très Belles Heures de Nôtre-Dame
252 pages / 28.0 x 20.0 cm
Jean, Duke of Berry (1340-1416)
Master of Parement of Narbonne (Jean d'Orleans?)
Master of the Holy Gost
Master of John the Baptist
25 miniature pages
Baron Alphonse de Rothschild
The Très Belles Heures de Notre-Dame, a worthy and artfully embroidered Book of Hours, is persevered in Paris. In 1380 the book was commissioned by the Duke of Berry, intended to part of his well-known collection. In the course of the book’s development, an ever changing history is represented. The precious figures on the miniature pages derive from the hands of various master artists, all of whom great names of their time, and are classic results of a highpoint in book painting.
The Très Belles Heures de Notre-Dame, a worthy and artfully embroidered Book of Hours, is persevered in Paris. In 1380 the book was commissioned by the Duke of Berry, intended to part of his well-known collection. In the course of the book’s development, an ever changing history is represented. The precious figures on the miniature pages derive from the hands of various master artists, all of whom great names of their time, and are classic results of a highpoint in book painting. Any viewer is sure to be fascinated.
The Très Belles Heures de Notre-Dame is connected with the Duke of Berry, one of the greatest patrons of the arts and collector of historic items. The Duke gave the book in 1412 to his Treasurer, Robinet d'Estampes. It was his decision to divide the manuscript into three parts, of which he retained the actual Book of Hours, while the other parts with the special Prayers to singular Saints and the Missal were sold to the Bavaria-Holland House. The latter parts was subsequently divided as well, with the Missal sent to Milan, and the Prayers-section sent to Turin (which was unfortunately heavily damaged in a fire in 1904). Today this combination is known as the “Turin-Milan Hours”. In its original form, the extraordinarily monumental work is a product of the outstanding highpoint of medieval book art. The Très Belles Heures de Notre-Dame came into the possession of the Baron Alphonse de Rothschild, whose family would eventually gift the work to the Paris National Library in 1956.
The Book of Hours, aptly named in its French title, “very beautiful Book”, shines with 25 miniature pages, which depict a variety of masterful art. This is probably due to the fact that many different involved Artists add their own special touch to the panel paintings. The first of which, famous of the “Master of the Parament of Narbonne”, was often employed by the French Court and today has been identified as Jean d’Orleans. It was him who determined the fundamental layout of the miniature pages. One can see around the frame of the main picture a gilded and embroidered inscription of his initials. Especially fine ivy is painted as an ornament on every miniature, openly depicting angels and small animals, like birds and butterflies.
The miniatures of this Book of Hours, crafted by this “Parament Master”, offer a special piece of Art History and are more than a convincing replacement for the partially destroyed panel painting of this period. As an example, the depiction of the “Marriage in Cana” clearly shows the progressiveness of the artistic perspective of the time.
Other involved Artists have identified the “John the Baptist” and “Holy Ghost” depictions as connected to the tradition of Flemish artists. For instance, the impressive depiction of Christ’s Baptism and his Resurrection are shown. Next to the noticeable main paintings are the Bas-de-Page-Miniatures, certainly worth a thorough look. Above all the richness of the figures and the total hand writing, with their detailed garments, are one of a kind when compared to their contemporaries. There are also many curious discovers to be made be an interested viewer. Like the painter who added a group of worshippers with female bodies, yet beards of grown men. The last miniature pages, which were added in 1412, derive from finally from the very well-known brothers Paul and Jan Limburg. The possibility that even more master artists could have contributed to the Les Très Belles Heures de Notre-Dame is cause for wonderment and surely makes this work a worthy piece of any collection for every enthusiast of medieval book art.