New York, The Cloisters Museum and Gardens, Acc., No. 54.1.2

Hours of Jeanne d'Evreux Facsimile Edition

Used and new from

2,512

approx US$ 2,727


Our price

Only for Registered Users

Request Info

or Sign Up Free

The book of hours of the wife of Charles the IV originates from the 14th century and was the first major French work to display delicate miniatures in the so-called demi-grisaille technique. The detailed precision of the miniatures is all the more impressive when considering that this codex is one of the smallest books of hours in existence, measuring a mere 9 x 6 cm.

A Milestone in the History of Art

This most charming Book of Hours, prepared for Jeanne d'Evreux, consort of the French king Charles IV, is one of the epochal works of 14th century French art. It was made between 1325 and 1328.

The book is a most choice example of a very early Book of Hours. It is embellished with 25 miniatures which delicacy reminds us of contemporary ivory carvings and which intellectual openness is directed toward the future.

All miniatures are in demi-grisaille, a painting technique using mainly shades of grey and colouring for the figures' face and hands.

These marvellous refined illustrations are the work of Jean Pucelle. His works are the most graceful and the most innovative of their time and are clearly influenced by Italian painting.

Shortly before starting this masterpiece, Pucelle may have been on a journey to Italy. The fresh impressions of great Italian art combined with his own perfect technique in the French tradition enabled him to create this enchanting, masterly work of art.

A Manuscript of Superlatives

To describe the particularity of this manuscript we have to use a number of superlatives: One of the smallest Book of Hours in the world, with a format of only 9.0 x 6.0 cm, the miniatures of the Hours of Jeanne d'Evreux required real artistic creativity in illumination.

Another important feature is the fact that all of the illumination of the book is from the master's own hand, down to the finest details. Illustrations, initials, even the finest lines and other "small traits", all executed with enormous variety and imagination, are the work of a master.

Still not enough of the superlative: The Hours of Jeanne d'Evreux is the first great work of French book illumination executed in demi-grisaille.

However, all this seems of little importance beside the sensational new ideas that Pucelle integrated into his illustrations. His pictures represent the first attempt ever made North of the Alps to introduce three-dimensionality in painting, the first impression of three-dimensional space.

Innovating Book Illumination: Jean Pucelle

In spite of his trying to introduce the latest artistic developments of innovative Italy, Pucelle surprisingly remained faithful to his own artistic roots, to his clear expression and elegant design. He knew how to combine these two currents and make them culminate into something completely new thus providing a fresh impulse to the French art of the 14th century.

This illuminator enjoyed great reputation even beyond his own lifetime as Queen Jeanne mentions him in her testament of 1371, more than 40 years after his death, although countless other book illuminators entertained flourishing workshops. This is strong proof of the quality of his art.

The Drolleries – Innumerable Fantastic Creatures

Another characteristic feature of this manuscript are the countless drolleries which are to be found on almost every page. One finds the most incredible creatures, such as lion-reptiles and snake-like goats or dragons with monks heads, but also diverse human beings from different social groups, such as peasants, shepherds, knights or acrobats.

The margins surrounding the text are densely populated with groups of figures playing burlesque scenes or harlequinades.

Life in all its fantastic variations appears in the Book of Hours. Wherever there is not enough text to complete a line, the blank spaces are immediately filled with fantastic creatures who bring the black lines to the very end.

This masterpiece of the 14th century belongs to those medieval works of art in which the sacred and the profane, the serious and the comical are allowed to stand side by side.

We have 1 facsimile edition of the manuscript "Hours of Jeanne d'Evreux": Stundenbuch der Jeanne d'Evreux facsimile edition, published by Faksimile Verlag, 2000

Stundenbuch der Jeanne d'Evreux

Lucerne or Munich: Faksimile Verlag, 2000

  • Commentary (English, German, French) by Drake Boehm, Barbara; Quandt, Abigail; Wixom, D. William
  • Limited Edition: 980 copies
  • This facsimile is complete (full-size color reproduction of the whole original document).

"The innovative highlight of this edition is the reproduction of the tiny drolleries which merit particular attention. Faksimile Verlag has successfully worked out a new printing technique which for the first time in the world permits to reproduce such small, extremely detailed illuminations in perfect accordance with the original.

It allows one not only to recognise and study but also to admire in the finest quality these most magnificent, amusing and educate grotesque figures which are incorporated into the text. The 418 pages (209 folios) of the manuscript in the format of 9 × 6 cm have been individually trimmed according to the original.

The Book of Hours not only contains illuminations of excellent quality, it also comprises texts written in splendidly regular letters, such as a Calendar, an Office of prayer to Mary, prayers to Saint Louis, Penitential Psalms and a Litany. This Book of Hours is an extremely expensively decorated work of art, a real gem made for the consort of a French king.

The commentary in the format of 22 × 15 cm provides a key to this work and helps to understand the manuscript, thanks to a number of most recent studies. Barbara Boehm, New York, is the editor."

Used and new from

€ 2,512

approx US$ 2,727

Our Price

Only for Registered Users

REQUEST INFO

or Sign Up Free


Email this record

Use this persistent URL to link to this page

Copy to Clipboard