The genius of the Limbourg brothers: Les Tres Riches Heures (1)

Genius is an overused word, but if you’re technically near perfect and astoundingly innovative, it seems reasonable. The mysterious Limbourg brothers’ work is actually pretty well known, as you can usually buy a calendar of their illuminated manuscripts in your nearest shopping centre in the run up to Christmas. Not bad for a niche 600 year old work, created for Jean de Berry, who ran a large swathe of modern day France

This is a superb online synopsis of Les Tres Riches Heures, and these books (1,2) are recommended, if you want to spend a bit on it.

The evident link with the ‘rhythm of the seasons’ (and the zodiac) reminds me of the unsurpassed Georgics, and it’s in the detail where it all comes alive. Here’s the month of January, which is basically about feasting indoors, and giving each other presents well after Christmas. Wonderful.

©Photo. R.M.N. / R.-G. OjŽda
January. The duke is on the right, in the blue



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