Above: Details of illuminations from Folio 94v, Folio 95r, and Folio 96v from the 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).
A self-contained quire of two bifolia inserts another novel picture cycle between traditional sections, and we get to enjoy another display of the Limbourg brothers’ genius. This story is taken from a thirteenth-century Life of Saint Bruno, and like the other added sections, the text is reduced to four lines per page in alternating red and blue ink. It recounts the legend around Saint Bruno’s foundation of the Carthusian order, a reformist monastic sect that allowed individual monks to live as hermits but with some communal elements. Jean de Berry’s brother Philip the Bold, Duke of Burgundy, was a major patron of the Carthusian Order and built its famous monument, the Chartreuse de Champmol in Dijon. (Incidentally, the Chartreuse in Dijon is also where John the Fearless—Philip’s son and Jean de Berry’s nephew—was buried. His tomb featured the carved alabaster figures of mourners now on view at the Met in the special exhibition The Mourners: Tomb Sculpture from the Court of Burgundy.) Read more »