Exceptionally large, extraordinarily beautifully illuminated: the "great book of hours" by the famous bibliophile Jean Duc de Berry

Grandes Heures du duc de Berry

Paris (France) — 1409

Grandes Heures du duc de Berry

Grandes Heures du duc de Berry

Paris (France) — 1409

  1. Jean Duc de Berry (1340–1416) was a member of the French royal family and one of the greatest art patrons of all time

  2. Jacquemart de Hesdin (ca. 1355 - ca. 1414) inter alia was responsible for this abnormally large book of hours

  3. After the death of the Duke, the book ended up in the collection of King Charles VIII of France (1470–1498)

Grandes Horas del duque de Berry (Gold Edition)

Grandes Heures du duc de Berry

John Baptizes Jesus

Despite its small size, this medallion miniature was created with remarkable artistry and detail. It shows the moment when John the Baptist pulled Jesus up from the waters of the River Jordan: “When He had been baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting upon Him. And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, ‘This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased’.” (Matt. 3:16-17)

Grandes Heures du duc de Berry

Alternative Titles:
  • Grandes Horas del duque de Berry
  • The Grandes Heures of the Duke of Berry
  • Die Grandes Heures des Herzogs von Berry
  • Grandes Heures du duc de Berry
  • Grandes Heures del duca di Berry
  • As Grandes Heures do duque de Berry
Grandes Heures du duc de Berry – Ms. Lat. 919|R.F. 2835 – Bibliothèque nationale de France (Paris, France) / Musée du Louvre (Paris, France)
Grandes Heures du duc de Berry – Ms. Lat. 919|R.F. 2835 – Bibliothèque nationale de France (Paris, France) / Musée du Louvre (Paris, France)
Grandes Heures du duc de Berry – Ms. Lat. 919|R.F. 2835 – Bibliothèque nationale de France (Paris, France) / Musée du Louvre (Paris, France)
Grandes Heures du duc de Berry – Ms. Lat. 919|R.F. 2835 – Bibliothèque nationale de France (Paris, France) / Musée du Louvre (Paris, France)
Grandes Heures du duc de Berry – Ms. Lat. 919|R.F. 2835 – Bibliothèque nationale de France (Paris, France) / Musée du Louvre (Paris, France)
Grandes Heures du duc de Berry – Ms. Lat. 919|R.F. 2835 – Bibliothèque nationale de France (Paris, France) / Musée du Louvre (Paris, France)
Grandes Heures du duc de Berry – Ms. Lat. 919|R.F. 2835 – Bibliothèque nationale de France (Paris, France) / Musée du Louvre (Paris, France)
Grandes Heures du duc de Berry – Ms. Lat. 919|R.F. 2835 – Bibliothèque nationale de France (Paris, France) / Musée du Louvre (Paris, France)
Grandes Heures du duc de Berry – Ms. Lat. 919|R.F. 2835 – Bibliothèque nationale de France (Paris, France) / Musée du Louvre (Paris, France)
Grandes Heures du duc de Berry – Ms. Lat. 919|R.F. 2835 – Bibliothèque nationale de France (Paris, France) / Musée du Louvre (Paris, France)
Grandes Heures du duc de Berry – Ms. Lat. 919|R.F. 2835 – Bibliothèque nationale de France (Paris, France) / Musée du Louvre (Paris, France)
Grandes Heures du duc de Berry – Ms. Lat. 919|R.F. 2835 – Bibliothèque nationale de France (Paris, France) / Musée du Louvre (Paris, France)
Grandes Heures du duc de Berry – Ms. Lat. 919|R.F. 2835 – Bibliothèque nationale de France (Paris, France) / Musée du Louvre (Paris, France)
Grandes Heures du duc de Berry – Ms. Lat. 919|R.F. 2835 – Bibliothèque nationale de France (Paris, France) / Musée du Louvre (Paris, France)
Grandes Heures du duc de Berry – Ms. Lat. 919|R.F. 2835 – Bibliothèque nationale de France (Paris, France) / Musée du Louvre (Paris, France)
Grandes Heures du duc de Berry – Ms. Lat. 919|R.F. 2835 – Bibliothèque nationale de France (Paris, France) / Musée du Louvre (Paris, France)
Grandes Heures du duc de Berry – Ms. Lat. 919|R.F. 2835 – Bibliothèque nationale de France (Paris, France) / Musée du Louvre (Paris, France)
Grandes Heures du duc de Berry – Ms. Lat. 919|R.F. 2835 – Bibliothèque nationale de France (Paris, France) / Musée du Louvre (Paris, France)
Grandes Heures du duc de Berry – Ms. Lat. 919|R.F. 2835 – Bibliothèque nationale de France (Paris, France) / Musée du Louvre (Paris, France)
Grandes Heures du duc de Berry – Ms. Lat. 919|R.F. 2835 – Bibliothèque nationale de France (Paris, France) / Musée du Louvre (Paris, France)
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Price Category: €€€€€ (over 10,000€)
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  1. Short Description
  2. Codicology

Short Description

The Grandes Heures du duc de Berry represents a special gem of the grand historical collection of one of the most important art patrons in history. Jean de Berry authorized the Parisian miniaturist Jacquemart de Hesdin and other artists to design a precious book of hours in an abnormally large format. The luxuriousness of the manuscript is embodied in innumerable quality miniatures, ornamental frames, historicized initials, and drolleries, decorated with gold through and through. As a matter of fact, the original binding of violet velvet with golden clasps, gemstones, and pearls, clearly makes the Grandes Heures one of the most valuable manuscripts from Duke Jean de Berry’s art collection.

Grandes Heures du duc de Berry

The Grandes Heures du duc de Berry represents a special gem of the grand historical collection of one of the most important art patrons in history. Jean de Berry authorized the Parisian miniaturist Jacquemart de Hesdin and other artists to design a precious book of hours in an abnormally large format. The luxuriousness of the manuscript is embodied in innumerable quality miniatures, ornamental frames, historicized initials, and drolleries, decorated with gold through and through. As a matter of fact, the original binding of violet velvet with golden clasps, gemstones, and pearls, clearly makes the Grandes Heuresone of the most valuable manuscripts from Duke Jean de Berry’s art collection.

An Important Patron

The manuscript was commissioned by the important collector and patron – of illumination in particular – Duke Jean de Berry (1340–1416). As the brother of the French King Charles V, Louis of Anjou, and Phillip of Burgundy, he was a member of one of the highest aristocratic circles of his time. He is known as one of the greatest art patrons in history. In his art collection, Jean de Berry compiled the greatest names of his time. Among the well-known books of hours that he retained were the Très Belles Heures, the Petites Heures, and the grandiose Très Riches Heures, which were all crafted by artists whom he commissioned. Among others, the three Limbourg brothers were often employed by him. The Duke of Berry lived in unbelievable luxury and richness, which can be embodied especially by the collection of his art, making him a figure of opulence in art history today. In the Grandes Heures, his likeness is forever captured in five separate portraits (one, for example, depicts him as one of the chosen to be received by Peter at the Pearly Gates).

Only the Best Artists Would Do

The Grandes Heures serves as the Duke’s most valuable book in his collection. According to an inscription within the manuscript, it was fully completed in 1409. Among the artists commissioned were great names such as Jacquemart de Hesdin or the Bedford-Master. Jacquemart de Hesdin (around 1355–1414) had already provided the Duke with the Petites Heures. For the Grandes Heures, he completed the largest miniature pages and many of the smaller miniatures. Along with him, other artist were involved with the manuscript, like the so-called Pseudo-Jacquemart (who executed the majority of the drolleries, the small miniatures, and the initials), the Bedford-Master and the Parisian Mazarin-Master.

A Grand Artistic Layout

The 252 pages of the Grand Heures are equipped with 212 miniatures, countless large-format and historicized initials; above all with heraldic appearances of the Duke’s emblems and mottos, as well as hundreds of drolleries with depictions of animals. Unfortunately the better part of the 17 whole-page miniatures from the hand of Jacquemart de Hesdin are lost (they were removed from the manuscript at an unknown point in time). One of the whole-page miniatures is still retained and is now on display in the Louvre. It presents the grandiose ability of the master of miniature painting. The depiction of the carrying of the cross is laid out among a wonderful perspective of scenery and thus depicts the Passion of Christ in a haunting manner. The manuscript was also adorned with 24 calendar-pages with unbelievably fine, widely branched floral ornamentation on the edges, as well as miniatures of biblical allegories with 28 miniatures that illustrate the text.

An Almost Kingly Splendor

Next to the magnificent, rich gold and bright colors of the artistically designed layout of the manuscript, the original binding of the Grandes Heures of violet velvet with two gold clasps, rubies, sapphires, and pearls still survives. The high esteem of the book is proven by the fact that after the death of the Duke of Berry, the book ended up with the royal collection of King Charles VIII of France. Today, the manuscript still counts as one of the most important testimonies to the amazing book art of the 15th century.

Codicology

Alternative Titles
Grandes Horas del duque de Berry
The Grandes Heures of the Duke of Berry
Die Grandes Heures des Herzogs von Berry
Grandes Heures du duc de Berry
Grandes Heures del duca di Berry
As Grandes Heures do duque de Berry
Size / Format
252 pages / 40.0 x 30.0 cm
Date
1409
Style
Gothic
Language
Illustrations
212 miniatures: 41 of large format, hundreds of historiated initials, heraldic emblems and hundreds of drolleries
Artist / School
Grandes Horas del duque de Berry (Gold Edition)

Grandes Heures du duc de Berry

The Carrying of the Cross

This is the only one of the miniatures created by Jacquemart de Hesdin that was separated from the codex to be successfully identified, its parchment was pasted onto canvas for exhibition. Unlike the pages that were protected within the codex, this miniature’s more delicate colors have faded, and the silver adorning weapons, helmets, and the roof of the gatehouse is blackened.

Nonetheless, it is a masterfully rendered scene combining multiple episodes from the Passion and is exemplary of the International Gothic style. To the left of Christ, we see Mary and St. Veronica with her veil, while behind him Pontius Pilot speaks with the high priest. Finally, Judas hangs himself in the background and his soul is carried off by a demon.

2 available facsimile edition(s) of „Grandes Heures du duc de Berry“

Grandes Horas del duque de Berry (Gold Edition)
Grandes Heures du duc de Berry – Ms. Lat. 919|R.F. 2835 – Bibliothèque nationale de France (Paris, France) / Musée du Louvre (Paris, France)
Grandes Heures du duc de Berry – Ms. Lat. 919|R.F. 2835 – Bibliothèque nationale de France (Paris, France) / Musée du Louvre (Paris, France)
Grandes Heures du duc de Berry – Ms. Lat. 919|R.F. 2835 – Bibliothèque nationale de France (Paris, France) / Musée du Louvre (Paris, France)
Grandes Heures du duc de Berry – Ms. Lat. 919|R.F. 2835 – Bibliothèque nationale de France (Paris, France) / Musée du Louvre (Paris, France)
Grandes Heures du duc de Berry – Ms. Lat. 919|R.F. 2835 – Bibliothèque nationale de France (Paris, France) / Musée du Louvre (Paris, France)
Grandes Heures du duc de Berry – Ms. Lat. 919|R.F. 2835 – Bibliothèque nationale de France (Paris, France) / Musée du Louvre (Paris, France)
Grandes Heures du duc de Berry – Ms. Lat. 919|R.F. 2835 – Bibliothèque nationale de France (Paris, France) / Musée du Louvre (Paris, France)
Grandes Heures du duc de Berry – Ms. Lat. 919|R.F. 2835 – Bibliothèque nationale de France (Paris, France) / Musée du Louvre (Paris, France)
Grandes Heures du duc de Berry – Ms. Lat. 919|R.F. 2835 – Bibliothèque nationale de France (Paris, France) / Musée du Louvre (Paris, France)
Grandes Heures du duc de Berry – Ms. Lat. 919|R.F. 2835 – Bibliothèque nationale de France (Paris, France) / Musée du Louvre (Paris, France)
Grandes Heures du duc de Berry – Ms. Lat. 919|R.F. 2835 – Bibliothèque nationale de France (Paris, France) / Musée du Louvre (Paris, France)
Grandes Heures du duc de Berry – Ms. Lat. 919|R.F. 2835 – Bibliothèque nationale de France (Paris, France) / Musée du Louvre (Paris, France)
Grandes Heures du duc de Berry – Ms. Lat. 919|R.F. 2835 – Bibliothèque nationale de France (Paris, France) / Musée du Louvre (Paris, France)
Grandes Heures du duc de Berry – Ms. Lat. 919|R.F. 2835 – Bibliothèque nationale de France (Paris, France) / Musée du Louvre (Paris, France)
Grandes Heures du duc de Berry – Ms. Lat. 919|R.F. 2835 – Bibliothèque nationale de France (Paris, France) / Musée du Louvre (Paris, France)
Grandes Heures du duc de Berry – Ms. Lat. 919|R.F. 2835 – Bibliothèque nationale de France (Paris, France) / Musée du Louvre (Paris, France)
Grandes Heures du duc de Berry – Ms. Lat. 919|R.F. 2835 – Bibliothèque nationale de France (Paris, France) / Musée du Louvre (Paris, France)
Grandes Heures du duc de Berry – Ms. Lat. 919|R.F. 2835 – Bibliothèque nationale de France (Paris, France) / Musée du Louvre (Paris, France)
Grandes Heures du duc de Berry – Ms. Lat. 919|R.F. 2835 – Bibliothèque nationale de France (Paris, France) / Musée du Louvre (Paris, France)
Grandes Heures du duc de Berry – Ms. Lat. 919|R.F. 2835 – Bibliothèque nationale de France (Paris, France) / Musée du Louvre (Paris, France)
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Grandes Horas del duque de Berry (Gold Edition)

1 volume: Exact reproduction of the original document (extent, color and size)
Publisher
Patrimonio Ediciones – Valencia, 2013
Limited Edition
50 copies
Binding
Violet velvet and with two gold clasps, each studded with a ruby, sapphire, and six large pearls
Commentary
1 volume (214 pages) by Marcel Thomas
Languages: Spanish, Italian, English, German, French
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: €€€€€ (over 10,000€)
Edition available
Price: Login here!
Grandes Horas del duque de Berry (Pergamenata Edition)
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Grandes Horas del duque de Berry (Pergamenata Edition)

1 volume: Exact reproduction of the original document (extent, color and size)
Publisher
Patrimonio Ediciones – Valencia, 2013
Limited Edition
949 copies
Binding
Violet velvet and with two gold clasps, each studded with a ruby, sapphire, and six large pearls
Commentary
1 volume by Marcel Thomas
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.
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