Les Très Riches Heures du Duc de Berry
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Jean de France, son of Jean II Le Bon king, was born in 1340 in Vincennes and died in 1414 in Paris. From 1356 to 1360, he was count of Poitiers and from 1360 to 1416; he was Duke of Berry and Auvergne.
During his eventful life, as a great art amateur, he did magnificently decorate his Mehu sur Yevre, Riom, Poitiers and Bicetre castles by his favorite artists: André beau-Neveu, Jacquemart de Hesdin, Jean de Cambri and especially the Limbourg brothers who devoted themselves to illuminate the famous “the very rich hours of Duke of Berry”.
“The very rich hours of Duke of Berry” is a book of hours that means, in the medieval tradition, a collection of illustrated texts, calendars, psalms, masses for each liturgical hour of the day. This masterpiece of Gothic art, made by the Limbourg brothers in the early fifteenth century, is preserved in the Condé museum, in Chantilly. Unfortunately, public is not allowed to see it because exposure to light could damages the manuscript. It may be comforting to admire on the internet some pale reproductions of the most beautiful pages, happily accompanied by erudite commentaries, for example on Philippe S. Blacher website. The information of this beautiful website were used to illustrate a perpetual calendar, directed from a script of Dan Steinman. We can also see the illustration for another hours book, “Small hours of the Duke of Berry”, made by the France National Library.
We can therefore say without a risk of contradiction that “The very rich hours of the Duke of Berry” is entirely a work of the Limbourg brothers.