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Art of Illumination

The exhibition is made possible by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the Michel David-Weill Fund.

The related publication is made possible by the Michel David-Weill Fund.

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The Belles Heures Since the Duc de Berry - The Art of Illumination

Program information

The Belles Heures (1405 - 1408/9) of Jean de Berry, a treasure of The Cloisters collection, is one of the most celebrated and lavishly illustrated manuscripts in this country. When it was unbound for conservation, each of its illuminated pages were exhibited as individual leaves—a unique opportunity never to be repeated. The exhibition, The Art of Illumination, elucidated the manuscript, its artists (the young Franco-Netherlandish Limbourg brothers), and its patron, Jean de France, Duc de Berry, and set the manuscript in the context of the patronage of Jean de Berry and his royal family, the Valois.

In conjunction with this incredible and historic exhibition, the curator Timothy Husband produced a comprehensive monograph of the same name, which describes the details of the creation of this masterpiece up until the very moment the Limbourg brothers handed the completed manuscript to Jean de France. After that instant, and for about the next four hundred years, almost nothing is known of the Belles Heures—but it is also at this moment that the fascinating life of the complete manuscript begins. Christopher de Hamel spins the tale of its exalted existence among the royal politics of medieval France and Europe, chasing its images and its possible owners through history.

Lecture by Christopher de Hamel, Gaylord Donnelley Fellow Librarian, Corpus Christi College, University of Cambridge; introduced by Timothy Husband, curator, Department of Medieval Art and the Cloisters, The Metropolitan Museum of Art


Learn more about the exhibition:
http://blog.metmuseum.org/artofillumination/about-the-exhibition/

Learn more about the manuscript on the Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History:
http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/works-of-art/54.1.1

The Art of Illumination

The Limbourg Brothers and the Belles Heures of Jean de France, Duc de Berry

March 1–June 12, 2010

Accompanied by a blog and a related publication

The Belles Heures (1405–1408/9) of Jean de Berry, a treasure of The Cloisters collection, is one of the most celebrated and lavishly illustrated manuscripts in this country. Because it is currently unbound, it is possible to exhibit all of its illuminated pages as individual leaves, a unique opportunity never to be repeated. The exhibition will elucidate the manuscript, its artists—the young Franco-Netherlandish Limbourg Brothers—and its patron, Jean de France, duc de Berry. A select group of precious objects from the same early fifteenth-century courtly milieu will place the manuscript in the context of the patronage of Jean de Berry and his royal family, the Valois.

Related Exhibition

The Mourners: Medieval Tomb Sculptures from the Court of Burgundy features sculpture from the tomb of John the Fearless, Duke of Burgundy, who was the nephew of Jean de Berry.