Master of the Breviary of Jean sans Peur

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(fl c. 1406–20). Illuminator, active in France. This name was given by Meiss (1956) to the main illuminator of a large and richly decorated two-volume Breviary (London, BL, Add. MS. 35311 and Harley MS. 2897) made for John the Fearless (Jean sans Peur), Duke of Burgundy, between 1413 and 1419. The illumination in this manuscript shows a thorough knowledge of the art of the de Limbourg brothers, with whom the Master appears to have collaborated on the Très riches heures (c. 1411/13–16; Chantilly, Mus. Condé, MS. 65), painting many initials and the finest of the borders. Apart from these manuscripts, his style is rarely found. One miniature in a manuscript dated 1406 (Paris, Bib. N., MS. fr. 926) and several illuminations in Books of Hours produced c. 1410–20 (Baltimore, MD, Walters A. Mus., MS. W. 219; Vienna, Österreich. Nbib., Cod. s.n. 2613; Palermo, Bib. Cent. Regione Siciliana, MS. 1.A.15) have been attributed to him. These manuscripts show his collaboration with such Parisian painters as the Boucicaut Master and the Egerton Master (fl 1400–20) and with artists associated with north-east France, such as the Master of Walters 219, which suggests that he may have worked in both areas. Although employing many figure types and compositions from the Limbourgs, the Breviary Master did not copy their models slavishly and was capable of adapting and on occasion improving on them. His borders in the Très Riches Heures reveal an accurate and detailed observation of plants and animals not found to the same extent in their work.


From The Grove Encyclopedia of Northern Renaissance Art in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Renaissance Art.