The Art of Illumination: The Limbourg Brothers and the Belles Heures of Jean de France, Duc de Berry
One of the most lavishly illustrated codices of the Middle Ages, the Belle Heures of Jean de France, duc de Berry (ca. 1405–1408/9), is the only manuscript with miniatures executed entirely by the famed Limbourg brothers. Commissioned by its royal patron, this richly illuminated Book of Hours, intended for private devotion and now housed in The Cloisters, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, belonged to the duke's large collection of prized possessions. The luminous scenes depicting the legends of the saints, the Hours of the Virgin, and the like, many with elaborately designed borders, exemplify the transcendent splendor of the Limbourg brothers' talents. Jean de France, duc de Berry—the son, brother, and uncle of three successive kings of France—commissioned the Belles Heures as an addition to his luxurious possessions ranging from illuminated manuscripts and goldsmith work, to castles throughout the French countryside. Timothy B.
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