Friday, 14 April 2017
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:
Here are some other notable works from Bourdichon: