Jean Bourdichon: An Unsung Master Of The Middle Ages

On January 10, 2015 by Tim Newman

Jean Bourdichon - Grande Heures - Ten thousand martyrs of Mount Ararat crop

Jean Bourdichon (1457 or 1459 – 1521) was a miniature painter and manuscript illuminator at the court of France between the end of the 15th century and the start of the 16th. He served during the reigns of a myriad of monarchs: Louis XI of France, Charles VIII of France, Louis XII of France and Francis I of France.

He was probably born in Tours, was a pupil of Jehan Fouquet (who was a big deal in painting at the time) and died in Tours. Bourdichon’s most famous work is the Grandes Heures of Anne of Brittany which, according to those who know about these types of things, is one of the most impressive book of hours still in existence. Books of hours were a type of Christian devotional book of the Middle Ages, they included texts, prayers, psalms and illuminations.

The Grandes Heures of Anne of Brittany comprises 476 pages including 49 full-page miniatures, 12 calendar pages with genre scenes of the months of the year, two pages of Anne’s heraldic devices, and 337 pages with illuminated borders showing flowers and other plants.

Anne of Brittany was the last independent ruler of Brittany and a member of the odd looking House of Hapsburg. She paid Bourdichon the princely sum of 1500 livres tournois for his efforts spent on the ornate book. I have no idea how much that would be in modern terms, but he didn’t receive it until years after he’d finished the book which seems a bit unfair.

Here are some of the images from Anne’s Grandes Heures:

Jean Bourdichon - Grande Heures - The Holy Trinity Jean Bourdichon - Grande Heures - The Flight into Egypt Jean Bourdichon - Grande Heures - St Anne teaching Mary to read

Jean Bourdichon - Grande Heures - Ten thousand martyrs of Mount Ararat

Jean Bourdichon - Grande Heures - Saint Matthew the Evangelist Jean Bourdichon - Grande Heures - floral border Jean Bourdichon - Grande Heures - Cucurbita pepo Jean Bourdichon - Anne of Brittany with her patron saints, Anne, Ursula and Catherine Jean Bourdichon - AGran Heures - Annunciation to the Shepherds

History Collection on LAZERHORSE.ORG

Here are some other notable works from Bourdichon:

The Kiss of Judas, Jean Bourdichon c. 1500 Jean Bourdichon - The Four Conditions of Society-Work Jean Bourdichon - The ANBETENDE MADONNA Jean Bourdichon - Martyrdom of St. Ursula Jean Bourdichon - Job On The Dung Heap






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