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Design: LaVerbe

The work

The Limbourg brothers created the world famous books of hours Les Belles Heures and Les Très Riches Heures for Duke Jean de Berry with miniatures that were revolutionary for their time. Their masterpieces were frequently copied in fifteenth century France and elsewhere. It is with good reason that the Limbourg brothers are considered among the top ten artists of all time, right up there next to luminaries such as Rembrandt and Michelangelo.

Oblivion and fame
Les Belles Heures and Les Très Riches Heures are among the most precious objects in the legacy of the Duke of Berry. Both books of hours have a long history, which can only partially be reconstructed. These manuscripts have changed ownership frequently, but have remained accessible to only a privileged few. That fact has resulted in their acquiring something of a cult status.

In 1954 Les Belles Heures made its way from the collection of Baron Maurice de Rothschild to The Cloisters, a special section of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, which is devoted to the display of Medieval art. It was here that the book was shown to the general public for the first time. Les Très Riches Heures was acquired from the collection of the Duke of Aumâle by the Musée Condé in Chantilly, north of Paris. However, it is not available for public viewing. In 1904 twelve reproductions from the book of hours were exhibited and the first monograph about the work was published. In 1948, Life Magazine, a popular American photo-magazine, published the twelve calendar miniatures from the manuscript, generating tremendous public interest.

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