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Book of Hours of Jeanne d'Evreux

Book of Hours of Jeanne d'Evreux

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The Hours of Jeanne d’Evreux – Day Two of Medieval Manuscripts

The Hours of Jeanne d’Evreux, c. 1324-1328. The illustration at right depicts the Annunciation. Jean Pucelle [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons Today’s manuscript is the Hours of Jeanne d’Evreux, a selection that isn’t nearly as famous as yesterday’s Book of Kells but is widely known in art history. The Hours of Jeanne d’Evreux is an example of a book of hours, a calendar of prayers for the hours of the day and the main religious events of the year. Usually owned by the wealthiest members of society, books of hours were often heavily decorated with illustrations, historiated or otherwise embellished initials, and elaborate marginal decorations. These profuse illuminations factor heavily into any study of medieval manuscripts, and this is definitely not the only book of hours I will discuss this month.

Two illustrations from the Hours of Jeanne d’Evreux by Jean Pucelle c. 1324-1328. By Anonymous [Public domain or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons The manuscript was made by artist Jean Pucelle circa 1324-1328 for the young Jeanne d’Evreux (1310-1317) on the occasion of her wedding to King Charles IV of France. The book’s numerous, highly-detailed illuminations befit its royal provenance. Its size, however, might come as something of a surprise. According to the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s entry for the manuscript in its online collection database – the work now belongs to the Met’s medieval outpost, The Cloisters Collection – the Hours of Jeanne d’Evreux measures 3 7/8″ x 2 13/16″ x 1 1/2″ when closed. In other words, it’s tiny! I spoke yesterday about the potential for disconnect between the true scale of works and their appearance with digital enhancements. In no case is this more true than it is for the Hours of Jeanne d’Evreux. No matter how much my medieval art professor prepared me for it, I was still shocked when I stood before the book in its little glass case and realized that it was smaller than the palm of my hand. Believe it or not, the images in this post are at least several times larger than the actual book is!

A page from the Hours of Jeanne d’Evreux, c. 1324-1328, including an historiated initial and marginal illustration. Jean Pucelle [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons. Unlike the Book of Kells, which contains details primarily of the ornamental and non-representational variety, the decoration in the Hours of Jeanne d’Evreux largely depicts people, animals, and buildings with a much higher degree of attention to the naturalistic detail. The stylistic differences between the two manuscripts are consistent with the larger evolution of European artistic trends between the 800s and early 1300s. The muted color scheme, however, is not characteristic of a larger trend, as many other books contemporary with the Hours of Jeanne d’Evreux are every bit as colorful as the Book of Kells. Much has been made of the subject matter depicted in the Hours of Jeanne d’Evreux, particularly in the marginal illustrations, but it would take me the entire rest of the month to go through the subtleties of the various theories that have been suggested on the topic. Suffice it to say that many scholars have read some pretty shocking things into the illustrations in this seemingly innocent and pious little book.

A marginal illustration from the Hours of Jeanne d’Evreux by Jean Pucelle c. 1324-1328. Maybe not so innocent? See page for author [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

ART REVIEW Made for a Medieval Queen, a Tiny Book That Created a Style

Manhattan's four-star attractions come in every size. Among the very smallest of them is the 14th-century prayer book known as ''The Hours of Jeanne dɾvreux'' in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

The book is only three and a half inches high, but in the story of Western culture it looms large. The art historian Erwin Panofsky, in his celebrated '⟪rly Netherlandish Painting,'' cited it as the wellspring of the northern European painting tradition that stretches from van Eyck to Bruegel, and beyond.

Since 1954, when the book was bought by the museum from the Rothschild family, it has resided in a vitrine at the Cloisters, the Met's branch museum in northern Manhattan. To the passing eye, it probably didn't look like much, with its ash-gray, pinpoint-fine images. And the chance of seeing any more than a few of them, even in the course of repeated visits, has been slim.

Recently a facsimile of the book was produced, which entailed removing the leaves from their binding. The Met has framed 32 folios, including all the full-page illuminations, and put them on temporary display at its Fifth Avenue headquarters in an exhibition titled ''Prayer Book for a Queen: The Hours of Jeanne dɾvreux,'' along with a survey of medieval books and prints.

The little prayer book is extraordinary for many reasons, beginning with its august provenance. Attributed to the artist Jean Pucelle, it was created in Paris in the 1320's as a gift from King Charles IV to his wife, Jeanne dɾvereux, who may have been only 11 years old when they married in 1324. Their time together was brief. Charles died four years later, and Jeanne, through her long widowhood, was much admired for her unostentatious piety.

She was also known for her interest in art, and the prayer book, a standard accouterment of aristocratic life, was part of the estate she bequeathed to the French crown. It quickly found its way into the itchy hands of that rabid bibliophile, Jean, Duc de Berry, who counted it among his singular treasures.

Well he should have it is exquisite, the choice product of a master hand. Little is known about Pucelle, and the association of his name with the book has been debated. (Barbara Drake Boehm, a curator of medieval art at the Met and the organizer of the show, supports the attribution.) But whoever made the book was a pioneer. In its pages, one finds the earliest known merging of northern Gothic style with the revolutionary naturalism of Italian art.

Whether Pucelle ever set foot in Italy is anyone's guess. But there is no question that he was familiar with Duccio's great ''Maesta'' altarpiece, completed in Siena in 1311. In fact, Duccio's work is quoted almost verbatim in the book, shrewdly edited and customized.

This is evident right up front in the miniature of the Annunciation. Here Pucelle adapts a specific scene from Duccio, but gives it a new narrative meaning. And for the first time in northern art, figures appear within an illusionary perspectival space, in this case a narrow room with a receding ceiling, paneled walls and a crowd of angels in the attic.

The new realism was made possible, in part, by Pucelle's formal approach to the miniature. He conceived his pictures as drawings or tonal paintings, done in black and shades of gray, with minute brushstrokes and calligraphic pen lines. The figures are modeled with hatching drapery is shaded with a couturier's eye to how it clings and falls. Color is spare: a lavender wash on a background, ocher for a stucco building, a blush of coral on a cheek.

And the artist's sense of drama is acute. The visit of the Magi to the infant Jesus has an excited buzz and flutter, with one king raising his arm like an exclamation point. Paired scenes subtly interact. In the facing images of the Annunciation and the Arrest of Christ, Mary and Jesus share the same hip-slung stance, as if they were being pulled by magnets toward their fate.

Episodes from the life of King Louis IX, the crusader-saint who was Jeanne's great-grandfather, are set in a similarly lucid, vacuum-packed world. Miracles occur, as in an episode when the imprisoned King has a prayer book flown in by celestial special delivery. Elsewhere, he is shown as an exemplum of the Christian life, spoon-feeding a leprous monk as his squeamish courtiers back away.

Such images were intended as moral lessons. But the book is also dense with secular incident, much of it confined to the bottoms of pages or margins. Sheets devoted to the liturgical calender are illustrated with scenes of the months of the year: in February, a man hunkers down in a wicker chair before a fire, as his socks dry out on the chandelier.

Most inventive of all are the ornamental forms that surround and emerge from the book's Latin text. In one case, a written line ends with the reclining figure of a hooded man, nude to the waist and holding a candle. Everywhere, humans, beasts, insects and flowers are grafted together in ways as fantastic as any computer-generated morphing. And in such images -- which may have operated as a kind of free zone, where an art of rigidly controlled ideas could finally stop making sense -- the phantasmagoric side of the Gothic north lives on.

It's great to be able to see all of this in a single sweep the show is probably a one-time-only opportunity to do so. (The limited-edition facsimile, at something like $7,000 a copy, isn't exactly a take-home item.) And the accompanying exhibition, '⟞votions and Diversions: Prints and Books From the Late Middle Ages in Northern Europe,'' organized by Suzanne Boorsch and Nadine Orenstein of the Met, does much to supply a context for Pucelle's book.

The work ranges from hand-colored block prints with a bumptious folk art charm to polished designs from urban workshops. As the curators point out, prints were so common in the Middle Ages that they were little valued, and as a result few have survived. Many exist now only as single copies pasted inside books or travel cases. An example of such a case, with a print intact, is included here, as is a carved woodblock, with a Crucifixion on one side and a St. Christopher on the other, both superb examples of relief sculpture.

The wealth of local shows of medieval art, incidentally, doesn't stop here. At the Met, both the Assisi trove and the acquisitions showcase, ''Mirror of the Medieval World,'' are still on view. And the Frick Collection is host to a major event: it has just opened its presentation of the celebrated secular manuscript known as the Medieval Housebook, a must-see this spring.

The Housebook is an honored visitor to New York from Germany. Jeanne dɾvereux's Book of Hours is one of the city's own mini-monuments. Once the show is over, it will be rebound and returned to its home at the Cloisters. This is the chance to take a long, close look -- the Met supplies the magnifying glasses, along with elbow-friendly shelves to lean on -- at beauties unlikely to be seen again in their entirety for a very long time.

''Prayer Book for a Queen: The Hours of Jeanne dɾvreux'' and '⟞votions and Diversions: Prints and Books From the Late Middle Ages in Northern Europe'' are at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Fifth Avenue at 82d Street, (212) 535-7710, through Aug. 29. ''The Medieval Housebook: A View of 15th-Century Life'' is at the Frick Collection, 1 East 70th Street, (212) 288-0700, through July 25.


The Annunciation can be seen on the right of the first double page shown here. The Archangels Gabriel and Mary are inside a Gothic hall, the front of which was opened like a door by a crouching angel. In the open arcade under the roof there are praying angels with two music-making angels. In Domine's figurative Iniatiale D , labia mea aperies (“Lord, open my lips”), Jeanne d'Evreux herself appears as a tiny, crowned figure, kneeling in front of a prayer book. In the border below the two lines of text, some women are playing a board game . The scene on the left depicts the betrayal of Judas Iscariot , underneath a text written in red with the announcement of the Office of Mary and at the foot of the page another incoherent depiction of two men on a goat and a ram who stumble upon a barrel.

The second introductory page shows Christ with the cross and opposite the Annunciation to the shepherds by the angel. The lively angels and other marginal figures complete the scene. The initial below the scene is filled by a bagpipe- playing musician and at the lower left of the picture a shepherd is blowing a shawm . The Gothic decorations on the upper edge of both miniatures give the double page a certain balance, almost symmetry . The two crouching caryatids that support the frame of the miniature can be compared to the angel on the previous page holding the image of the Annunciation.

Book of Hours of Jeanne d'Evreux - History

The Book of Hours was put together between 1325 threw 1328 by Jean Pucelle as a gift from King Charles IVs queen, Jeanne D’Evreux. The Book of Hours was Jeanne D’Evreux’s prize possession which she had included in her dying will. It is now located in the Cloisters Collection at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. The book is composed of six parts a calendar, the Hours of the Virgin, the Hours of Saint Louis, the Seven Penitential Psalms, a Litany of the Saints, and the Eight Canonical Hours of the Day.
Pucelle put the Book of Hours together by using the grisalle technique which is a monochromatic painting in a range of gray colors with small touches of color like red, blue, and pink. It was written and illustrated by hand on calf-skin parchment. The Book of Hours is the earliest known work of art that merges Gothic style art with revolutionary naturalism of the French, English, and Italian art. This was arranged by foliate borders filled with real and grotesque creatures as well as the use of illustrations on the bottom of the page.
The first component of the Book of Hours is a calendar. The calendar is organized by color the blue ink represents the most important days, the red ink represents the second most important days, and the black ink represents the remainder of the days of a month. Each mother has an illustration of the month’s zodiac sign and an activity that is done during that time of year.
The Hours of the Virgin is commonly found in the Book of Hours. Pucelle uses typology in the Hours of the Virgin by juxtaposing scenes from the life of the virgin and the passion of the Christ.
The most significant portion of the Book of Hours is the hours of Saint Louis. Saint Louis was Jeanne D’Evreux’s great-grandfather. “Saint Louis was known for his extreme and religious faith, artistic patronage, and for his kind and humble character.”
The rest of the Book of Hours consists of the Seven Penitential Psalms, a Litany of the Saints, and the Eight Canonical Hours of the Day. The Book of Hours was considered Jean Pucelle’s masterpiece and was absolutely planned for Queen Jeanne D’Evreux’s personal devotions.

COTTER, HOLLAND. "ART REVIEW Made for a Medieval Queen, a Tiny Book That Created a Style." The New York Times. N.p., 21 May 1999. Web. 1 Feb. 2010. .

Stokstad, Marilyn. Art History 3rd Edition. New Jersey: Pearson Education, Inc, 2005. Print.

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What is the Hours of Jeanne d’Evreux?

The Hours of Jeanne d’Evreux is a fourteenth-century book of hours illuminated by an artist named Jean Pucelle and was a gift from French King Charles IV to his third wife (Jeanne d’Evreux). The book may be tiny in terms of physical dimension (only a few inches, in fact), but is big in terms of artistic innovation. It is known for its grisaille illustrations which feature a gray, monochrome style that results in unique, sculpturesque figures. The illuminations, which often incorporate examples of Gothic architecture into the background, are innovatively rendered using spatial recession, creating a sense of depth not seen in earlier medieval painting.

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The Hours of Jeanne d’Evreux

Created for Jeanne d’Evreux, Queen of France, wife of Charles IV in Paris, ca. 1324-28 on vellum, with twenty-five full-page illuminations by Jean Pucelle (active Paris, 1319-1334). Scenes include the Infancy and Passion of Christ and the life of Saint Louis. The figures are rendered in demi-grisalle (shades of gray), imparting a sculptural quality. Images are accented with red, blues, orange, yellow, pink, lilac, and turquoise. This is the first major French work to display this technique. Nearly seven hundred marginal illustrations depict bishops, beggars, street dancers, maidens, musicians occupying the streets of medieval Paris, as well as animals such as apes, rabbits, and dogs, and fantastical creatures, or, drolleries. The book was intended for use by the queen during private prayer throughout the course of the day. Upon her death in 1371, Jeanne d’Evreux left the prayer book to King Charles V. At his death, the book entered the collection of lauded bibliophile, Charles’s brother, Jean, Duke de Berry.

A Discourse on the Poor: The Hours of Jeanne d'Evreux

"A Discourse on the Poor: The Hours of Jeanne d'Evreux." This paper takes as its object of study three scenes from the life of Louis IX in the Hours of Jeanne d'Evreux (New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Cloisters Collection), ca. 1324. The miniatures, inspired by contemporary Lives of Louis, show the saint aiding the poor. Surrounding each of the scenes is a series of marginal figures that form a kind of pictorial "gloss" on the central pictures. It is argued that this original juxtaposition of miniature and marginalia constitutes a discourse on the problems of poor relief, revealing some of the ambivalence with which the poor were regarded in the fourteenth century. The margins function repeatedly as a site of exclusion from the charitable activities occurring within the pictorial frame. Thus, the book depicts not only the beneficiaries of Louis's charity, but also (in theory) those unworthy of the king's compassion. In this light, the pictures function not merely as an exhortation for Queen Jeanne to give alms to the poor, but also as a warning to give discriminately, recognizing that not all people were deserving of charity.


Between 1324 and 1328, the celebrated Parisian illuminator Jean Pucelle created a richly ornamented and illustrated prayer book -- a Book of Hours -- for Jeanne dɾvreux, Queen of France. The temporary removal of leaves of the 3 1/2-by-2 1/2-inch book for conservation and creation of a facsimile edition is providing a rare opportunity for the display of 32 framed images at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The exhibition, ''Prayer Book for a Queen: The Hours of Jeanne dɾvreux,'' opens today and continues through Aug. 29.

Mummies, by definition, don't get around much anymore. But on Friday, the unparalleled assortment that are among the most popular exhibits at the British Museum are going to get a new setting, the Roxie Walker Galleries of Egyptian Funerary Archeology. Reflecting the state of research on the subject, the new displays, ranging from the age of the pyramids to the Roman occupation, seek to trace the Egyptians' attitudes toward life and death through the preservation of bodies, the provision of sustenance and magical aid and performance of ritual.

The largest addition of this decade to the 89-year-old Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History in Washington -- the $40.6 million, 80,000 square foot Discovery Center -- opens tomorrow. In addition to such features as a 487-seat Imax theater, showing '➯rica's Elephant Kingdom,'' and a new cafe and museum shops, the multilevel educational complex is intended to alter the flow of the museum's six million annual visitors, only 30 percent of whom visit second-floor galleries like Geology, Gems and Minerals, home to the Hope diamond. The name Discovery Center recognizes a donation from Discovery Communications of Bethesda, Md., the parent company of the Discovery Channel, TLC, Animal Planet and Travel Channel.

The $30,000 annual Rea Award for the Short Story, announced today, goes to Joy Williams, the author of two collections of short stories, ''Taking Care'' and 'ɾscapes.'' Established in 1986 by Michael M. Rea, a passionate reader and short-story collector, the award to a living United States or Canadian writer who has made a significant contribution to the form is given not for a specific work but for the writer's originality and influence on the genre. Among previous winners are Robert Coover and Eudora Welty. LAWRENCE VAN GELDER

Watch the video: THE BOOK OF HOURS OF THE AESCOLAPIUS - Browsing Facsimile Editions 4K. UHD (August 2022).