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Belles Heures of Jean de France, duc de Berry, 1405–1408/9. Herman, Paul, and Jean de Limbourg (Franco-Netherlandish, active in France by 1399–1416). French; Made in Paris. Ink, tempera, and gold leaf on vellum; 9 3/8 x 6 5/8 in. (23.8 x 16.8 cm). The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, The Cloisters Collection, 1954 (54.1.1).
The Story of Saint Jerome
Saint Jerome Studying Classical Philosophers, Folio 183r
A scholarly scene begins the longest and most accomplished of the inserted “picture book” cycles in the manuscript. Jerome, in monk’s garb and seated on the floor of an elaborate and complex space, listens with other students to an enthroned teacher who reads from a decorative lectern. Jerome’s downward meditative glance hints at his inner torment and dissatisfaction with the pagan lecture. The event is described in The Golden Legend but is unprecedented in art.