Miniatures with boundless imagination: the greatest work of the French court painter Robinet Testard

Hours of Charles of Angoulême

France — Around 1485

Hours of Charles of Angoulême

Hours of Charles of Angoulême

France — Around 1485

  1. The greatest work by the French master Robinet Testard (1470-1531) with 38 magnificent full-page miniatures

  2. Testard had an intimate relationship with the Angoulême family as a valet and artist from 1484 to 1496

  3. The book of hours also contains a miniature of the famous Jean Bourdichon (1457 / 59-1521)

Hours of Charles of Angoulême

Alternative Titles:
  • Libro de horas de Carlos de Angulema
  • Stundenbuch von Karl von Angoulême
  • Libro d’Ore di Carlo d’Angoulême
  • Les Heures de Charles d’Angoulême
  • Livro de horas de Carlos de Angulema
Hours of Charles of Angoulême – Latin 1173 – Bibliothèque nationale de France (Paris, France)
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  1. Short Description
  2. Codicology

Short Description

The Hours of Charles of Angoulême was made by the French court painter Robinet Testard in 1485. It was a personal work by the artist for his superiors, with whom he enjoyed a good relationship. It contains 38 thrilling pictorial scenes in lively colors. At least one of the work’s miniatures was painted by the famous master Jean Bourdichon, and 16 prints by Israhel van Meckenem the Younger were incorporated into the image program, making this a rare hybrid codex.

Hours of Charles of Angoulême

Books of hours were probably the most popular type of book in the Late Middle Ages. The illuminated manuscripts were produced for private devotion and prayer and were especially prevalent among the rich, literate nobility. The codices enjoyed their golden age in the 14th and 15th centuries. The works by French illuminators were especially coveted and were templates for other European artist studios. The Hours of Charles of Angoulême is one of these French manuscripts. It contains 38 splendid, full-page miniatures and is the most valuable manuscript by the illuminator Robinet Testard. Aside from contributions by other leading masters, the décor also includes printed materials, making it a rare hybrid work.

The Count of Angoulême

Charles of Angoulême (1459-96) was descended from the Valois dynasty. He was Count of Angoulême since 1467 and had two children, named Margarete and Francis, with his wife Anne de Beaujeau. Francis was crowned King Francis I of France in the year 1515. Charles of Angoulême was an enthusiastic art lover. During his reign he lived mostly at his chateau in Cognac , where he operated as patron of numerous artists. The illuminator Robinet Testard was among his most trusted.

The Court Painter Robinet Testard

Robinet Testard was an ingenious illuminator who never signed his works. As a result, his works are not always easy to attribute to him. Nevertheless, it is documented that the artist was employed at the court of the family of Angoulême from 1484 to 1496. He not only produced some of his most impressive illuminated codices here, but also worked as a valet for the family. Such an appointment only came to those who stood in high favor with the ruling family. The book of hours for Charles of Angoulême is the most personal manuscript by Testard.

Surprising Originality

The book of hours indicates Testard’s boundless imagination. The miniatures of the work show exotic landscapes and botanical elements, as well as lively human and animal figures. They illustrated themes from mythology and religion in characteristic fashion. The painter brings his exciting illustrations to life with an intense, vivacious atmosphere. At least one miniature was also contributed by arguably the greatest French book master, Jean Bourdichon. The manuscript contains another special artistic feature because not all of the miniatures are what they appear: 16 prints by Israhel Israhel van Meckenem the Younger (ca. 1445-1503) were pasted onto the parchment and overpainted. This makes the manuscript a rare fusion of new printed art forms and established manuscript art. The valuable original edition of the manuscript is found today in the French National Library in Paris under the shelf mark Lat. 1173.

Codicology

Alternative Titles
Libro de horas de Carlos de Angulema
Stundenbuch von Karl von Angoulême
Libro d’Ore di Carlo d’Angoulême
Les Heures de Charles d’Angoulême
Livro de horas de Carlos de Angulema
Size / Format
230 pages / 21.5 x 15.5 cm
Origin
France
Date
Around 1485
Language
Illustrations
38 full-page miniatures
Artist / School
Previous Owners

1 available facsimile edition(s) of „Hours of Charles of Angoulême“

Libro de horas de Carlos de Angulema
Hours of Charles of Angoulême – Latin 1173 – Bibliothèque nationale de France (Paris, France)
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Libro de horas de Carlos de Angulema

1 volume: Exact reproduction of the original document (extent, color and size)
Publisher
M. Moleiro Editor – Barcelona, 2014
Limited Edition
987 copies
Binding
Red leather with gilt border
Commentary
1 volume by Maxence Hermant and Séverine Lepape
Language: Spanish
Price Category: €€€
Edition available
Price: Login here!
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