Life and Miracles of St. Louis

Life and Miracles of St. Louis – Siloé, arte y bibliofilia – Français 2829 – Bibliothèque nationale de France (Paris, France)

France — Around 1480

France's only saint to sit on the throne and the ideal of a Christian ruler: 48 large and masterful miniatures from the life of King Louis the Saint, King of France

  1. King Louis IX of France (1214–70), called St. Louis, redefined the ideal of the Christian ruler in the 13th century

  2. The gilded miniatures of his biography depict the miraculous events that supposedly occurred at his tomb

  3. Impressive depictions with unbelievable spatiality characterize the style of the 48 miniatures

Life and Miracles of St. Louis

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  1. Description
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Description
Life and Miracles of St. Louis

One of the most significant medieval monarchs, who redefined the "ideal of the Christian ruler" in the 13th century, was King Louis IX of France, called St. Louis or Louis the Saint. His character and his works provided material for countless chroniclers, biographers, and tales of miracles, some of which were recorded in marvelous manuscripts. A particularly beautiful specimen was completed ca. 1480 by a gifted artist at the behest of Cardinal Charles de Bourbon. This Flemish miniaturist known under the name "Master of the Cardinal Charles de Bourbon" displayed his exceptional ability with the artistic adornment of the Livre des faits de monseigneur saint Louis. The magnificent gold-adorned, large-format miniatures depicting the life of St. Louis and the miracles, which are supposed to have occurred at his tomb after his death, distinguish themselves through the finest details and wonderful pictorial compositions. The French manuscript can certainly be counted among the greatest works of late-15th century illumination.

Life and Miracles of St. Louis

One of the most significant medieval monarchs, who redefined the ideal of the Christian ruler in the 13th century, was King Louis IX of France, called St. Louis. His character and his works offered material for countless chroniclers, biographers, and tales of miracles that were sometimes recorded in marvelous manuscripts. A particularly beautiful specimen was completed ca. 1480 by a gifted artist at the behest of Cardinal Charles de Bourbon. This Flemish miniaturist known under the name Master of the Cardinal Charles de Bourbon represented his exceptional ability with the artistic adornment of the des Livre des faits de monseigneur saint Louis. The splendid, gold-adorned miniatures of the biography of St. Louis and the wonder stories, which are supposed to have occurred at his tomb after his death, distinguish themselves through the finest details and a surprising image composition. The French manuscript can be counted among the greatest works of late 15th century illumination.

King and Saint, Crusader and Justice of the Peace

Louis IX (1214–1270), called St. Louis, was one of the most famous kings of France. His rule marked a Golden Age. He has gone down in history as the leader of two crusades and as the upholder of peace and just judges. Today, St. Louis is considered to be one of the most important medieval monarchs and an “ideal type of ruler.” He was already known in his lifetime for his especial piety and his close association with Christian beliefs. This is what caused Pope Boniface VIII to declare him a saint in the year 1297. The impressive and anecdote-filled Life and Miracles of St. Louis was recorded in numerous biographies, contemporary chronicles, and filigreed tales of miracles.

The Splendid Livre des faits de monseigneur saint Louis

Cardinal Charles de Bourbon (1433–1488), cardinal and archbishop of Lyon, was the one who commissioned one of the most beautiful manuscripts concerning the Life and Miracles of St. Louis. The cardinal was a great devotee of St. Louis. Made ca. 1480, des Livre des faits de monseigneur saint Louis contains a detailed biography and miracle stories, which played out at his grave after the death of Louis. The text originates from an anonymous author, who took Guillaume de Saint-Pathus (Vie de Saint Louis), Vincent de Bauvais (Miroir historial), and Guillaume de Nangis as his examples and formed an exciting and informative narrative therefrom. Cardinal Charles de Bourbon gifted the splendid manuscript to a “duchesse de Bourbonnois” who is also mentioned in the book, one of the three spouses of his brother Duc Jean II de Bourbon.

The Grandiose Illumination of the Late 15th Century

This scene is recorded in one of the wonderful miniatures of the manuscript. A depiction shows the scene of the presentation of the completed manuscript to the cardinal. He in turn gave it to this Duchess of Bourbon. There are a total of 122 miniatures on the 328 pages of the manuscript, 48 of them are even full-page. Impressive depictions with unbelievable spatiality characterize the style of the miniatures. Landscapes and interior spaces, which are skillfully interlinked, bespeak an exciting interplay between interior and exterior. The particularly fine brushstrokes make marvelously detailed scenes possible even in the background. The masterful shading in luminous yellow-gold allows the miniatures to shimmer and gleam as though they were illuminated by the Sun. The so-called Master of the Cardinal Charles of Bourbon was responsible for this splendor, who probably received his artistic training in Bruges. From 1480 on he as active in Paris and illuminated numerous marvelous books of hours, among others. With des Livre des faits de monseigneur saint Louis, he presented an impressive testimonial of his exceptional art.

Codicology

Alternative Titles
Vida y Milagros de San Luis
Vie et Miracles de San Luis
Leben und Wunder Ludwigs des Heiligen
Le Livre des Faiz Monseigneur saint Loys
Size / Format
328 pages / 37.0 × 26.5 cm
Origin
France
Date
Around 1480
Style
Language
Script
Gothic cursive
Illustrations
122 miniatures (48 of them full-page) from the life of King Louis the Saint, rich border decorations and countless decorated initials
Content
Life of Saint Louis IX King of France
Artist / School
Previous Owners
One of the three wives of John II, Duke of Bourbon, brother of Cardinal de Bourbon

Available facsimile editions:
Life and Miracles of St. Louis – Siloé, arte y bibliofilia – Français 2829 – Bibliothèque nationale de France (Paris, France)
Siloé, arte y bibliofilia – Burgos, 2020
Limited Edition: 898 copies
Detail Picture

Life and Miracles of St. Louis

The King and Queen Embark at Damietta for Acre

Preceded by a pet monkey, Louis embarks the ship with his wife, Queen Margaret of Provence, and followed by her ladies in waiting. Louis and Margret are dressed in gold brocade with floral patterns in purple and green, respectively. A group of minstrels play music in the ship’s forecastle while Louis’ troops wait in the hull. After being forced to surrender the Egyptian port of Damietta, Louis spent four years in Acre using his financial support to help the Crusaders sure up their defenses.

Life and Miracles of St. Louis – Siloé, arte y bibliofilia – Français 2829 – Bibliothèque nationale de France (Paris, France)
Single Page

Life and Miracles of St. Louis

Arrival of Louis IX at Damietta in 1249

At the outset of the 7th Crusade, King Louis and his army landed in Egypt on June 4th/5th, 1249 and captured the port of Damietta. Accompanied by a cardinal in red, the King leads the attack in golden armor from the forecastle of his flagship with banners and religious icons. The Christians have canons and Italian longswords while the Muslims are armed with scimitars and hand cannons.

This is one of the first depictions of these early handheld firearms. Although Arab and Mamluk armies had primitive firearms in the late–13th century and Europeans had crude canons, their inclusion here is premature – the invention of the miniaturist who otherwise depicts the opposing forces in the contemporary armor worn by troops when they painted it ca. 1480.

Life and Miracles of St. Louis – Siloé, arte y bibliofilia – Français 2829 – Bibliothèque nationale de France (Paris, France)
Facsimile Editions

#1 Vida y Milagros de San Luis

Siloé, arte y bibliofilia – Burgos, 2020

Publisher: Siloé, arte y bibliofilia – Burgos, 2020
Limited Edition: 898 copies
Binding: Royal blue velvet with heavy metal fittings and applications and two book clasps. Elegant wooden box with viewing window
Commentary: 1 volume (172 pages) by Luis Angel Montes Peral, Elisa Ruiz Garcia and Sarah E. Hoover
Language: Spanish
1 volume: Exact reproduction of the original document (extent, color and size) 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.
Facsimile Copy Available!
Price Category: €€€€
(7,000€ - 10,000€)
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