(b. ca. 1420, Amiens, d. 1489, Valenciennes)

Jean Mansel: The Flower of History

c. 1455
Manuscript (Mss. 9231-9232, 2 volumes), 430 x 300 mm
Bibliothèque Royale de Belgique, Brussels

This codex by Jean Mansel (1400-c.1473), a Burgundian author, contains a compilation of the history of the world from the Creation to the death of King Charles VI (1422) with historical events being incorporated into the biblical story of salvation and redemption. The probable patron of the manuscript was Philip the Good, Duke of Burgundy (reigned 1419-1467). The large number of extant copies (there are more than 50 manuscripts) indicates its popularity in the late Middle Ages.

The 65 miniatures were executed by Simon Marmion and other illuminators. The illustrations, each about two-thirds of a page in size and the two columns of text beneath them, are surrounded by wide borders. These are filled with delicate ornamental foliage and with filigree latticework.

This miniature on folio 388r shows individual scenes form the life of King Louis IX, Saint Louis of France. It demonstrates the artist's heightened sense of balanced composition and harmonic coloration, and his predilection for a wealth of contemporary details.