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The Very Rich Hours of the Duke of Berry
The Very Rich Hours of the Duke of Berry
Les Très Riches Heures du duc de Berry (The Very Rich Hours of the Duke of Berry) was a book of hours commissioned by Jean, Duke of Berry from the brothers Paul, Jean and Herman de Limbourg. The work was begun around 1411 but remained unfinished on the death of the three artists in 1416, the same year in which the Duke himself died. Jean Colombe finished the manuscript for Charles 1st of Savoy between 1485 and 1489. 

It is a remarkable piece containing 206 leaflets in the style of a book of hours used by rich lay people. These works, popular in the 14th and 15th centuries, were made up of a collection of texts for every liturgical hour in a day. They generally begin with a calendar; at that time, people's activities were structured around the cycles of the seasons and religious life. The calendar in The Very Rich Hours serves as a basis for highly detailed, refined decoration in the form of illustrations. The twelve months of the year provide a unique look at rural life in the feudal Middle Ages. The Limbourg brothers painted vibrant illuminations in a wide variety of colours using mineral and vegetable dyes and gold paint, burnished gold and sliver. This original work, considered a masterpiece of Gothic art, is to be found in the Musée Condée de Chantilly.
Limbourg Pol, Jean et Hermann (15e siècle)
Chantilly, musée Condé
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