Who was their Patron?

Jean de Berry was one of the highest nobles in 15th-century France - his brothers were King Charles V, the Duc d'Anjou and the Duc de Bourgogne, and his nephews were King Charles VI and the Duc d'Orleans. He was inevitably involved in politics as a result of his position and was identified with the Armagnac anti-Burgundian faction, as a result of which his property was attacked on several occasions by pro-Burgundian mobs. (On one such occasion, in 1411, his Chateau de Bicetre was burned to the ground, destroying many of the works of the Limbourgs). In 1416 he died, apparently broken-hearted at the destruction of the French monarchy at Agincourt the previous year.

He was the medieval world's greatest connoisseur of the visual arts, with a particular fondness for jewels, castles, works of art and exotic animals. He ordered the building of a number of castles and filled each with specially commissioned works of art, including tapestries, paintings, and jewels. He is reputed to have owned 1,500 dogs. Among his extraordinarily varied collection were chateaux such as Saumur and Bicetre, rubies weighing up to 240 carats, a collection of ostriches and camels and - most importantly from our point of view - a magnificent collection of books. He owned astronomical treatises, mappa mondes, and a large number of religious books: 14 Bibles, 16 psalters, 18 breviaries, 6 missals and no less than 15 Books of Hours, including of course the Très Riches Heures.

© 14 Oct 2002, Nicolas Pioch - Top - Up - Info
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