Jean Hennecart


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(fl 1454–70). South Netherlandish illuminator. His name appears several times in the account books of the Burgundian court, and he was among the artists employed to produce decorations for the famous ‘banquet du faisan’ organized by Philip the Good, Duke of Burgundy, in Lille in 1454. Hennecart also worked for Charles the Bold, Duke of Burgundy, while the latter was still Comte de Charolais, painting coats of arms and producing banners for him, among other things. In 1457, on the occasion of the birth of Mary, Duchess of Burgundy, he illuminated a rotulus with a motet (untraced). One documented work by the artist survives: according to a bill of 1470 Hennecart was paid for the illumination of two copies of the Instruction d'un jeune prince, a didactic text formerly attributed to Georges Chastellain and now regarded as the work of Guillebert de Lannoy. One of these copies (Paris, Bib. Arsenal, MS. 5104), containing three miniatures, bears the initials of Charles the Bold and Margaret of York (fol. 66r) and must therefore have been produced after their marriage in 1468; this accords with the dating given by the document of 1470.Stylistically, Hennecart's illuminations show the influence of the master of the Girart de roussillon, but he must also have known the frontispiece of the Chroniques de Hainault (Brussels, Bib. Royale Albert 1er, MS. 9242, fol. 1r), attributed to Rogier van der Weyden (see Weyden, van der, (1)); from it he borrowed an interior and a figure-group almost exactly for his Deathbed of a King in Guillebert de Lannoy's Instruction d'un jeune prince (c. 1470; Paris, Bib. Arsenal, MS 5104, fol. 5r). Like van der Weyden, he depicted a detailed interior with a bed, curtain, baldacchino, tiled floor, beamed ceiling and windows; yet his foreshortening is considerably less skilful, and he also encountered some problems in the arrangement of the figures in the picture space. (This is equally true of his landscape scenes.) However, his lively figure-types are convincing. Their costumes are comparable with those depicted by the master of Antoine of burgundy: prominent among other features are the tall, blunt, cone-shaped headdresses. Another characteristic of Hennecart's work is the very thin application of colour, so that the surface is often not fully covered. His flesh tints are frequently yellowish and pale, with a blotchy appearance, and it is possible that the pigment was not durable. His predilection for medallions with coats of arms, mottoes or other marks of ownership in the borders is also notable, as are the high-quality branchwork initials. Little can be said about Hennecart's development and historical position, as this manuscript is his only authenticated work, but further works by him may be identified among the numerous and stylistically diverse illuminations attributed to the Master of Antoine of Burgundy.

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

Subjects: Renaissance Art.