(active 1380s in Paris)

Très Belles Heures de Notre-Dame du Duc de Berry

c. 1380
Manuscript (Ms. nouv. acq. lat. 3093), 280 c 200 mm
Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris

Très Belles Heures de Notre-Dame du Duc de Berry was one of the first books of hours commissioned by Duc Jean de Berry (1340-1416), one of the four sons of King John II of France. Around 1412, the Duc the Berry passed on the book, only partly illuminated, to his treasurer Robinet d'Estampes, split it up and sold off the individual parts. As a result, two fragments came to be in the possession of the House of Bavaria-Holland, and it is thought that they were decorated in the style of Jan van Eyck. Later they were separated again, one going to Turin, the other to Milan. These parts of the manuscript, which was originally begun around 1380 as a commission for the Duc de Berry, are therefore known as the Turin-Milan Hours. However, the core of original manuscript - including the book of hours itself - remained in France and is known by the name that the whole work bore from the beginning in the Duke's inventories: Les Très Belles Heures de Notre-Dame.

The fragment of this book of hours in Paris still includes 25 of the original 31 miniatures, created by several anonymous artists, one of them, named as the Master of the Parement of Narbonne, was a great illuminator, a follower of Jean Pucelle.

The main miniature on folio 68r illustrates Marian Vespers with Christ's first miracle, when he turned water into wine at the wedding in Cana. In the initial D under the picture, Mary begs her son for a miracle. Christ blesses the bread and fishes held by an apostle, multiplying the food available so that the crowd of people gathered in the bas-de-page can eat their fill.

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