Jean de Laval

(fl. 1463—1468)

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(fl 1463–8). French illuminator and painter. He is documented in the service of Charles, Duc de Berry, and, on one occasion, working for his older brother, King Louis XI. In all probability Jean de Laval is the true identity of the artist referred to as the master of Charles of france. Three painters have been connected with Charles of France: Jean de Laval, Henri de Vulcop, and Jean Guillemer. Of these, Jean de Laval is the only one mentioned in ducal accounts as ‘peintre de mondit seigneur’. He was paid in 1463–4 the substantial sum of 66 livres tournois, 100 sous in 1467 and, in 1468, 8 livres, 8 sous, and 12 livres for unspecified works. In May and September 1464 Laval is also mentioned in a royal account as ‘peintre de Mgr le duc de Berry’ when he painted a scarlet war pennant for the captain of Louis XI's guard. Henri de Vulcop, who was not part of the ducal household, is in all probability identifiable with the master of Coëtivy, whose pronounced Netherlandish style is noticeably different from that of the Master of Charles of France. Guillemer, whose name does not figure in extant ducal accounts, has been loosely connected with Charles's patronage from judicial interrogations in Tours to which he submitted in late January 1472; Louis XI's investigator, Tristan l’Ermite, suspected the artist of spying for the League of the Public Weal headed by Charles of France. In his testimony, however, Guillemer claimed to have been illuminator to Charles d’Anjou, Comte de Maine (uncle and godfather of Charles of France), and to have sought Anjou's recommendation so that he might be granted a commission by Charles of France for a Breviary. Such a recommendation would seem necessary only if Guillemer's work was unknown to the young Charles. Consequently the evidence suggests that Jean de Laval is the artist most likely to be identifiable as the Master of Charles of France.

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

Subjects: Renaissance Art.

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