THE LIMBOURG BROTHERS -
xxxxxThe Limbourg Brothers of Nijmegen -
xxxxxThe Limbourg Brothers, Paul, Herman and Jean, were born in Nijmegen -
xxxxxThe three brothers worked in the city of Bourges, the Duke’s capital city, mainly employed on restoring art works, providing murals for various rooms within the château, and producing altarpieces and memorials for his chapels. In about 1405, however, all three began work on their first masterpiece, Les Belles Heures. This was an illustrated Book of Hours -
xxxxxThe brothers embarked on their most ambitious project, Les Très Riches Heures du Duc de Berry, in 1413. In this work they blended secular with religious art -
xxxxxFor three years the brothers worked ceaselessly to complete their exquisite task, but, with the coming of the plague in the spring of 1416, all three died, and the work was left unfinished. The illustrations for the month of November and part of September were yet to be done, together with a large number of smaller images. The Duke vowed to make good the omissions, but he himself died of the plague a few months later, and the book eventually came into the possession of the Duc Charles I of Savoie. Itxwas not in fact until some 70 years later, around 1485, that he commissioned the French miniaturist Jean Colombe of Bourges to complete the work. Today this unique book, the very best of miniature painting in France, is known as “the king of illuminated manuscripts”.
xxxxxIncidentally, the book is now housed in the Musée de Condé, Château de Chantilly, in France.
Limbourg Brothers: Images 1 and 2: Les Belles Heures de Duc de Berry – Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Images 3 and 4: Les Très Riches Heures de Duc de Berry – Condé Museum, Château de Chantilly, Oise, France.