A Masterpiece Reconstructed: The Hours of Louis XII
Mark Evans Janet Backhouse Thomas Kren (and Nancy Turner), Janet Backhouse, Victoria and Albert Museum
Getty Publications, 2005 - Architecture - 98 pages
The Hours of Louis XII is the stunning prayer book that Jean Bourdichon painted for the king of France, mostly likely on the occasion of his coronation in 1498. Bourdichon was the court painter to four successive French kings, including Louis and his predecessor, Charles VIII. The manuscript was originally illuminated with twelve large calendar miniatures and two dozen full-page miniatures, but by the seventeenth century the Hours of Louis XII had been dismembered so that the large miniatures could be enjoyed separately as individual paintings. In recent years sixteen of these images have been located, including the portrait of the king that served as the book's frontispiece. This catalogue, which accompanies an exhibition at the J. Paul Getty Museum, to be held October 18, 2005-January 8, 2006, publishes the paintings together for the first time, along with a selection of other books illuminated by the artist, by his teacher Jean Fouquet, and by their contemporaries.
Janet Backhouse, who originally assembled the evidence attesting to the existence of this long-forgotten masterpiece, introduces the book and its cycle of miniatures. Thomas Kren considers the book's provocative miniature of Bathsheba bathing within the context of the king's own taste and predilections and within the emerging genre of the female nude in French painting. Nancy Turner examines the important evidence of the painter/illuminator Bourdichon's technique in the Hours of Louis XII in relation to his other work and that of Jean Fouquet. Mark Evans examines the individual histories of each of the surviving portions of the manuscript to reconstruct their peregrinations and to weigh the evidence of the book's place in the history of collecting single illuminated leaves. Lastly, an appendix presents a reconstruction of the book's devotional contents and program of illumination.
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Anne of Brittany Annunciation appear bar borders Bathsheba bathing bismuth blue book of hours British Library calendar miniatures catalogue Charles VIII Christ collection color court depicted Detail from Plate drapery Duke Duke of Berry F I G U face ﬁfteenth century ﬁgure ﬁne ﬁrst Flemish ﬂesh tone Flight into Egypt France Kneeling Francois Avril French full—page miniatures gold highlighting gray Hours of Anne Hours of Louis Hours of Simon identiﬁed Iean Bourdichon illuminated manuscripts IPGM Janet Backhouse Jean Fouquet Katherine Hours king’s Kneeling in Prayer lead white London Louis XII LOUIS XII’S BATHSHEBA MANUSCRIPT PAINTING TECHNIQUES Mark Evans nationale de France opening text painted gold painter parallel strokes Paris Paul Getty Museum Penitential Psalms pigment Plate 13 recto reﬂected Remaining text Royal shadow signiﬁcant Simon de Varie Simon Marmion speciﬁc surviving Temple PL Thomas Kren Valois verso XII of France