Quite rightly attributed to the great Jean Colombe: an exuberant, richly illuminated testimony to the golden age of French illumination

Book of Hours of Besançon

France — Around 1480–1485

Book of Hours of Besançon

Book of Hours of Besançon

France — Around 1480–1485

  1. This 15th century manuscript is a testament to the Golden Age of French Illumination

  2. The quality and style of the illumination point to the preeminent master Jean Colombe (ca. 1403 - ca. 1493)

  3. All 386 pages of the manuscript are adorned with miniatures and wonderfully-colorful initials

Book of Hours of Besançon

Alternative Titles:
  • Libro de Horas de Besançon
  • Stundenbuch aus Besançon
Book of Hours of Besançon – Ms. 0148 – Bibliothèque municipale (Besançon, France)
Imageof
Price Category: €€€ (3,000€ - 7,000€)
Edition available
Price: Login here!
  1. Short Description
  2. Codicology

Short Description

The so-called Book of Hours of Besançon is an exceptional attestation of the art of 15th century French illumination. The 386 pages of the personal prayer book were adorned throughout with full-page miniatures, figurative scenes in the frames, or simply gorgeous initials. Jean Colombe is believed to be the master of this magnificence, the famous French painter who was employed, inter alia, by high-ranking patrons like Louis de Laval. His name is additionally associated with the Très Riches Heures by the Limbourg Brothers for the Duc de Berry. The Book of Hours of Besançon glimmers with exceptional compositions and a special treatment of light and landscape in the grandiose miniatures!

Book of Hours of Besançon

The so-called Book of Hours of Besançon is an exceptional attestation of the art of 15th century French illumination. The 386 pages of the personal prayer book were adorned throughout with full-page miniatures, figurative scenes in the frames, or simply gorgeous initials. Jean Colombe is believed to be the master of this magnificence, the famous French painter who was employed, inter alia, by high-ranking patrons like Louis de Laval. His name is additionally associated with the Très Riches Heures by the Limbourg Brothers for the Duc de Berry. The Book of Hours of Besançonglimmers with exceptional compositions and a special treatment of light and landscape in the grandiose miniatures!

An Exceptional Manuscript

Manuscript 0148 of the Bibliothèque Municipale de Besançon is known as the so-called Book of Hours of Besançon. It probably originated ca. 1480–1485 in France. The precious devotional book, with its exuberant and consistently high-quality adornment, was surely a commission of a high-ranking and wealthy personality. All of the altogether 386 pages measuring 16.2 x 11.8 cm are visually adorned, either in the form of full-page miniatures, smaller depictions, or wonderfully-colorful initials.

The Impressive Miniatures

At the beginning, the manuscript presents a calendar with typical depictions of agrarian activities, but also of saints. The paintings already indicate, that a true master must have been at work here. Thus the following illustrated borders – narrow depictions alongside the text in portrait – show a cycle with scenes from the Old Testament, from the creation story to the Book of Tobit. The prophecies from the Book of Isaiah were ultimately depicted in full-page, large-format miniatures. In this way, the most important events of the New Testament are expressed in magnificent pictures!

A Master of his Profession

All this magnificence in the Book of Hours of Besançon points to an exceptional miniaturist. This is presumably a work by Jean Colombe. This famous French illuminator was employed by Louis de Laval and the Duke of Savoy, inter alia. For the latter, Jean Colombe completed, inter alia, the Très Riches Heures by the Limbourg brothers for the Duc de Berry. The exceptional treatment of light and landscape, as they appear in the miniatures of the manuscript in Besançon, are a trademark of Jean Colombe’s art. Furthermore, complicated room constructions and well-thought-out composition distinguish the manuscript in it elegant overall impression.

Codicology

Alternative Titles
Libro de Horas de Besançon
Stundenbuch aus Besançon
Size / Format
386 pages / 16.2 × 11.8 cm
Origin
France
Date
Around 1480–1485
Style
Illustrations
Numerous full-page and half-page miniatures
Artist / School

1 available facsimile edition(s) of „Book of Hours of Besançon“

Libro de Horas de Besançon
Book of Hours of Besançon – Ms. 0148 – Bibliothèque municipale (Besançon, France)
Imageof

Libro de Horas de Besançon

1 volume: Exact reproduction of the original document (extent, color and size)
Publisher
Orbis Mediaevalis – Madrid, 2015
Limited Edition
495 copies
Binding
Gold stamped leather
Commentary
1 volume
Language: Spanish
More Information
Reproduction of the entire original document as detailed as possible (scope, format, colors). The binding may not correspond to the original or current document binding.
Price Category: €€€ (3,000€ - 7,000€)
Edition available
Price: Login here!
  1. Matching Works
  2. Matching Background Articles

Matching Works

Altarpiece of Joan the Mad

Altarpiece of Joan the Mad

Uniquely presented: the book art of Simon Bening in a wooden frame as an altar for the Queen of Spain

Experience More
Book of Hours of the Dauphin of France

Book of Hours of the Dauphin of France

All 128 pages are imaginatively illuminated with loving detail: the magnificent masterpiece for the heir to France, created by a famous father-son team

Experience More

Matching Background Articles

Publisher