Limbourg brothers

The Limbourg brothers (Dutch: Gebroeders van Limburg; fl. 1385 – 1416) were famous Dutch miniature painters (Herman, Paul, and Johan) from the city of Nijmegen. They were active in the early 15th century in France and Burgundy, working in the style known as International Gothic. They created what is certainly the best-known late medieval illuminated manuscript, the Très Riches Heures du Duc de Berry.

Les Très Riches Heures du duc de Berry juin
Très riches heures du Duc de Berry: Juin (June) (1478-1549)
Illumination on vellum, 22,5 x 13,6 cm

Uncle Malouel

Around 1398, after their father's death, the brothers were sent for by their uncle Jean Malouel (or Johan Maelwael, Jehan Maleuel in original French sources), the most important painter for the French and Burgundian courts of the time. Herman and Johan learned the craft of goldsmithing in Paris. At the end of 1399 they were travelling to visit Nijmegen but, owing to a war, they were captured in Brussels. Since their mother could not pay the ransom of 55 gold escuz, the local goldsmiths' guild started to collect the money. Eventually Philip the Bold paid the ransom for the sake of their uncle Malouel, his painter. The two boys were released in May 1400.

Work on the Bible

From surviving documents it is known that in February 1402 Paul and Johan were contracted by Philip to work for four years exclusively on illuminating a bible. This may or may not have been the Bible Moralisée (Ms. fr. 166 in the Bibliothèque nationale de France in Paris), which is indisputably an early work by the Limbourg brothers. Philip II died in 1404 before the brothers had completed their work.

Jean de Berry

Circle of the Limbourg Brothers - Medallion with the Emperor Augustus's Vision of the Virgin and Child - Walters 44462
A medallion by the circle c. 1420, depicting a stylized image of Augustus (currently held by the Walters Museum)

After Philip's death, Herman, Paul, and Johan later in 1405 came to work for his brother John, Duke of Berry, who was an extravagant collector of arts and especially books. Their first assignment was to illuminate a Book of Hours, now known as the Belles Heures du Duc de Berry; held in The Cloisters of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.

This work was finished in 1409 much to the satisfaction of the duke, and he assigned them to an even more ambitious project for a book of hours. This became the Très Riches Heures du Duc de Berry, which is widely regarded as the peak of late medieval book illumination, and possibly the most valuable book in the world. It is kept as Ms. 65 in the Musée Condé in Chantilly, France.

Paul especially was on good terms with the duke, and received a court position as valet de chambre, or personal attendant (his uncle had had the same position with the duke of Burgundy). The duke gave him jewelry and a large house in Bourges. Paul was attracted to a young girl, Gillette la Mercière, but her parents disapproved. The duke had the girl confined, and released her only on the king's command. In 1411 Paul and Gillette married anyway, but the marriage remained childless (the girl was 12, her husband 24 at the time).


In the first half of 1416, Jean de Berry and the three Limbourg brothers – all less than 30 years old – died, possibly of the plague, leaving the Très Riches Heures unfinished. An unidentified artist (possibly Barthélemy van Eyck) worked on the famous calendar miniatures in the 1440s when the book apparently was in the possession of René d'Anjou, and in 1485 Jean Colombe finished the work for the House of Savoy.

The work of the Limbourg brothers, being mostly inaccessible, became forgotten until the 19th century. Nevertheless, they set an example for the next generations of painters, which extended beyond miniature painting. They worked in a Northern European tradition, but display influences from Italian models.


  • Rob Dückers and Pieter Roelofs (eds.), The brothers van Limburg. Exhibition catalogue, Ludion, Nijmegen 2005. ISBN 90-5544-576-2
  • Husband, Timothy B., The Art of Illumination: The Limbourg Brothers and the Belles Heures of Jean de France, Duc de Berry. The Metropolitan Museum of Art/Yale University Press, 2008. ISBN 978-0-300-13671-5

External links

1410s in art

The decade of the 1410s in art involved some significant events.


Year 1416 (MCDXVI) was a leap year starting on Wednesday (link will display the full calendar) of the Julian calendar.

Barthélemy d'Eyck

Barthélemy d'Eyck, van Eyck or d' Eyck (c. 1420 – after 1470), was an Early Netherlandish artist who worked in France and probably in Burgundy as a painter and manuscript illuminator. He was active between about 1440 to about 1469.

Although no surviving works can be certainly documented as his, he was praised by contemporary authors as a leading artist of the day, and a number of important works are generally accepted as his. In particular, Barthélemy has been accepted by most experts as the artists formerly known as the Master of the Aix Annunciation for paintings, and the Master of René of Anjou for illuminated manuscripts. He is thought by many to be the Master of the Shadows responsible for parts of the calendar of the Très Riches Heures du Duc de Berry.

Belles Heures of Jean de France, Duc de Berry

The Belles Heures of Jean de France, Duc de Berry, or Belles Heures of Jean de Berry (The Beautiful Hours) is an early 15th-century illuminated manuscript book of hours (containing prayers to be said by the faithful at each canonical hour of the day) commissioned by the French prince John, Duke of Berry (French: Jean, duc de Berry), around 1409, and made for his use in private prayer and especially devotions to the Virgin Mary. The Belles Heures is one of the most celebrated manuscripts of the Middle Ages and very few books of hours are as richly decorated as it.

Each section of the Belle Heures is customised to the personal wishes of its patron. The Belles Heures consists of a series of story-like cycles that read like picture books. Along with the Très Riches Heures, also made for Jean, the Belles Heures ranks among the great masterpieces of the Middle Ages. The manuscript is now in The Cloisters in New York.

Boucicaut Master

The Boucicaut Master or Master of the Hours for Marshal Boucicaut was an anonymous French or Flemish miniaturist and illuminator active between 1400 and 1430 in Paris. He worked in the International Gothic style.

He is named after his illustrated book of hours for Jean II Le Meingre Boucicaut, Marshal of France, created between 1410 and 1415, now in the Musée Jacquemart-André in Paris.

The Master of Boucicaut was a contemporary of the Limbourg brothers and with them belonged to the most important and influential illuminators of manuscripts of the period in Northern Europe. He was probably the head of a productive workshop or studio in which artists fulfilled commissions for the court, the aristocracy and wealthy citizens. It is known that the artist also collaborated with the equally active Bedford Master in Paris.

The Boucicaut Master was advanced in terms of his depiction of light and perspective, based partly on developments in Italian painting. Based on style, many paintings and manuscripts are attributed to the artist. He has been associated with the Early Netherlandish painter, miniaturist, and architect Jacques Coene by some scholars, but it is now clear Coene was active in Paris too early for this to be plausible.

Descent from the Cross

The Descent from the Cross (Greek: Ἀποκαθήλωσις, Apokathelosis), or Deposition of Christ, is the scene, as depicted in art, from the Gospels' accounts of Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus taking Christ down from the cross after his crucifixion (John 19:38-42). In Byzantine art the topic became popular in the 9th century, and in the West from the 10th century. The Descent from the Cross is the 13th Station of the Cross.

Other figures not mentioned in the Gospels who are often included in depictions of this subject include John the Evangelist, who is sometimes depicted supporting a fainting Mary (as in the work below by Rogier van der Weyden), and Mary Magdalene. The Gospels mention an undefined number of women as watching the crucifixion, including The Three Marys, (Mary Salome being mentioned in Mark 15:40), and also that the Virgin Mary and Mary Magdalene saw the burial (Mark 15:47). These and further women and unnamed male helpers are often shown.

Fanny pack

A fanny pack or belt bag or belly bag (American English), bum bag (British English) or ket bag (Hiberno-English) is a small fabric pouch worn by use of a strap above the hips around the waist that is secured usually with some sort of buckle. The straps sometimes have tri-glide slides, making them able to be adjusted to fit. The American and British names derive from the fact that they are often worn with the pouch above the buttocks, for which "fanny" and "bum" are the slang terms in each country respectively, although they may also be worn with the pouch at the front. The British usage of "fanny" is vulgar slang for the labia, so the name "fanny pack" is rarely used in Britain.

International Gothic

International Gothic is a period of Gothic art which began in Burgundy, France, and northern Italy in the late 14th and early 15th century. It then spread very widely across Western Europe, hence the name for the period, which was introduced by the French art historian Louis Courajod at the end of the 19th century.Artists and portable works, such as illuminated manuscripts, travelled widely around the continent, leading to a common aesthetic among the royalty and higher nobility and considerably reducing the variation in national styles among works produced for the courtly elites. The main influences were northern France, the Netherlands, the Duchy of Burgundy, the Imperial court in Prague, and Italy. Royal marriages such as that between Richard II of England and Anne of Bohemia helped to spread the style.

It was initially a style of courtly sophistication, but somewhat more robust versions spread to art commissioned by the emerging mercantile classes and the smaller nobility. In Northern Europe "Late Gothic" continuations of the style, especially in its decorative elements, could still be found until the early 16th century, as no alternative decorative vocabulary emerged locally to replace it before Renaissance revival of Classicism.

Usage of the terms by art historians varies somewhat, with some using the term more restrictively than others. Some art historians feel the term is "in many ways ... not very helpful ... since it tends to skate over both differences and details of transmission."

Jacquemart de Hesdin

Jacquemart de Hesdin (c. 1355 – c. 1414) was a French miniature painter working in the International Gothic style. In English, he is also called Jacquemart of Hesdin. During his lifetime, his name was spelt in a number of ways, including as Jacquemart de Odin.

Jacques Daliwe

Jacques Daliwe was a Franco-Flemish painter active between 1380 and 1416. His only known work is a book of drawings on wood, now kept in the Berlin State Library, with studies of facial expressions and some more complete Biblical scenes (including an Annunciation, a Crowning of Mary, and a Sorrows of Christ). He is supposed to have worked at the court of the Duke of Berry, and some of his drawings reuse compositions by the Limbourg brothers.

Jean Colombe

Jean Colombe (Latin: Ioannes Colombus; b. Bourges ca. 1430; d. ca. 1493) was a French miniature painter and illuminator of manuscripts. He is best known for his work in Très Riches Heures du Duc de Berry. He was a son of Philippe Colombe and his wife Guillemette and thus the brother of the sculptor Michel Colombe.

John, Duke of Berry

John of Berry or John the Magnificent (French: Jean de Berry; 30 November 1340 – 15 June 1416) was Duke of Berry and Auvergne and Count of Poitiers and Montpensier. He was the third son of King John II of France and Bonne of Luxemburg; his brothers were King Charles V of France, Duke Louis I of Anjou and Duke Philip the Bold of Burgundy. He is primarily remembered as a collector of the important illuminated manuscripts and other works of art commissioned by him, such as the Très Riches Heures.

List of painters by name beginning with "L"

Please add names of notable painters in alphabetical order.

Willem Labeij (1943–2011)

Adélaïde Labille-Guiard (1749–1803)

Félix Labisse (1905–1982)

Georges Lacombe (1868–1916)

Pieter van Laer (1599–1642)

Pierre Laffillé (1938–2011)

Emile Lahner (1893–1980)

Gerard de Lairesse (1640–1711)

Wifredo Lam (1902–1982)

Henry Lamb (1883–1960)

George Lambourn (1900–1977), British artist

Aleksandr Ivanovich Laktionov (1910–1972)

Lam Qua (1801–1860), Chinese portrait painter

Lan Ying (1585–1664)

Nicolas Lancret (1690–1743)

Myra Landau (born 1926)

Ronnie Landfield (born 1947)

Sir Edwin Landseer (1802–1873)

Fitz Hugh Lane (1804–1865)

Giovanni Lanfranco (1582–1647)

Otto Lange (1879–1944), German Expressionist painter and graphic artist

Peter Lanyon (1918–1964)

Ibram Lassaw (1913–2003)

Mikhail Larionov (1881–1964)

Julio Larraz (born 1944)

Carl Larsson (1859–1919)

Pieter Lastman (1583–1633)

Rainer Maria Latzke (born 1950)

Georges de La Tour (1593–1652)

William Langson Lathrop (1859–1938)

Marie Laurencin (1885–1956)

Jean-Paul Laurens (1838–1921)

John Lavery (1856–1941)

Andrew Law (1873–1967), Scottish portrait painter

Edith Lawrence (1890–1973)

Jacob Lawrence (1917–2000)

Sir Thomas Lawrence (1769–1830)

Jesús Mari Lazkano (born 1960)

Gregorio Lazzarini (1655–1730)

Antoine Le Nain (c.1599–1648)

Louis Le Nain (c.1601–1648)

Mathieu Le Nain (1607–1677)

Henri Le Sidaner (1862–1939)

Benjamin Williams Leader (1831–1923)

Georges Emile Lebacq (1876–1950)

Mikhail Lebedev (1811–1837)

Charles Lebrun (1619–1690)

Jules Joseph Lefebvre (1836–1911)

Silvestro Lega (1826–1895)

Fernand Léger (1881–1955)

Alphonse Legros (1837–1911)

Anton Lehmden (born 1929)

Wilhelm Leibl (1844–1900)

Lord Frederic Leighton (1830–1896)

Margaret Leiteritz (1907–1976)

Sir Peter Lely (1618–1680)

Ulrich Leman (1885–1988)

Georges Lemmen (1865–1916)

August Lemmer (1862–19??)

Tamara de Lempicka (1898–1980)

Franz von Lenbach (1836–1904)

Leng Mei

Robert Lenkiewicz (1941–2002)

Lennie Lee (born 1958)

Achille Leonardi (c.1800–1870)

Leonardo da Vinci (1452–1519), Italian polymath, being a scientist, mathematician, engineer, inventor, anatomist, painter, sculptor, architect, botanist, musician and writer

Stanislas Lépine (1835–1892)

Mikhail Yuryevich Lermontov (1814–1841)

Charles Le Roux (1814–1895)

Niels Lergaard (1893–1982)

Alfred Leslie (born 1927)

Hans Leu the Elder (1460–1507)

Michael Leunig (born 1945)

Leo Leuppi (1893–1972)

Emanuel Leutze (1816–1868)

Jack Levine (1915–2010)

Isaac Levitan (1860–1900)

Rafail Levitsky (1847–1940)

Dmitry Levitzky (1735–1822)

Bill Lewis (born 1953)

Wyndham Lewis (1884–1957)

Aertgen van Leyden (1498–1564)

Lucas van Leyden (1494–1533)

Alfred Leyman (1856–1933)

Thyrza Anne Leyshon (1892–1996)

Judith Jans Leyster (also Leijster) (1609–1660), Dutch

André Lhote (1885–1962)

Liaqat Ali Khan

Li Cheng (919–967)

Li Di (1100–after 1197)

Li Fangying (1696–1755)

Li Gonglin (1049–1106)

Li Kan (1245–1320)

Li Keran (1907–1989)

Li Mei-shu (1902-1983), Taiwanese painter, sculptor, and plotician

Li Rongjin

Li Shan (1686–1756)

Li Shida

Li Shixing (1282–1328)

Li Song

Li Tang (d. 1130)

Li Zai

Liang Kai (12th century–13th century)

Liao Chi-chun (1902-1976), Taiwanese painter and sculptor

Roy Lichtenstein (1923–1997)

Ash Lieb (born 1982)

Max Liebermann (1847–1935)

Irene Lieblich (1923–2008)

Josse Lieferinxe (14??–1508)

Jan Lievens (1607–1674)

Maxwell Gordon Lightfoot (1886–1911), English painter

Bruno Liljefors (1860–1939)

Limbourg brothers (?–1416)

Lin Liang (1424–1500)

Lin Tinggui (active 1174–1189)

Liaqat Ali Khan

Emil Lindenfeld (1905–1986)

Arlington Nelson Lindenmuth (1856–1950)

Allan Linder (born 1966)

Carl Walter Liner (1914–1997)

Johannes Lingelbach (1622–1674)

John Linnell (1792–1873)

Amalia Lindegren (1814–1891), Swedish artist and painter

Lionel Lindsay (1874–1961)

Jean-Étienne Liotard (1702–1789)

Filippino Lippi (1457–1504)

Fra Filippo Lippi (ca.1406–1469)

Oleg Lipchenko (born 1957)

Arthur Lismer (1885–1969)

Johann Liss (also called Jan Lys) (ca. 1590 or 1597–1627 or 1631)

Dirck van der Lisse (1607–1669)

El Lissitzky (1890–1941)

Beatrice Ethel Lithiby (1889-1966), English painter

Stephen Little (born 1954)

Alexander Litovchenko (1835–1890)

Liu Haisu (1896–1994)

Liu Jue (1409–1472)

Liu Jun

Elizabeth Jane Lloyd (1928–1995), English painter

Stefan Lochner (c. 1410–1451)

Dorothy Lockwood (1910–1991), English watercolour painter

Lojze Logar (1944–2014)

Paul Lohse (1902–1988)

Elfriede Lohse-Wächtler (1899–1940)

German Londoño (born 1961)

Leonard Long (born 1911)

McKendree Long (1888–1976)

Barbara Longhi (1552–1638)

Pietro Longhi (1702–1785)

Charles-André van Loo (1705–1765)

Charles-Amédée-Philippe van Loo (1719–1795)

Jean-Baptiste van Loo (1684–1745)

Louis-Michel van Loo (1707–1771)

Candido Lopez (1840–1902)

Melchior Lorck (1526 or 1527–after 1583)

Christian August Lorentzen (1746–1828)

Pietro Lorenzetti (ca.1280–1348)

Lorenzo Lotto (c. 1480–1556/57)

Morris Louis (1912–1962), (also listed under Bernstein)

Louisa Matthíasdóttir (1917–2000)

Claude Lorrain (1600–1682)

L. S. Lowry (1887–1976)

Lu Guang

Lu Ji (1477–15??)

Lu Zhi (1496–1576)

Luo Mu (1622–1706)

Luo Pin (1733–1799)

Maximilien Luce (1858–1941)

Lucebert (1924–1994)

Stefan Luchian (1868–1917)

John Luke (1906–1975)

George Benjamin Luks (1867–1933)

Juan Luna (1857–1899)

Henrik Lund (1875–1948)

J. L. Lund (1777–1867)

Johan Lundbye (1818–1848)

Vilhelm Lundstrøm (1893–1950)

Luo Zhichuan

Oskar Lüthy (1882–1945), Swiss painter of still-lifes, landscapes and religious art

Laura Muntz Lyall (1860–1930)

Genevieve Springston Lynch (1891–1960)

Master of the Rebel Angels

The Master of the Rebel Angels is an anonymous master of the Sienese School, during the second quarter of the 14th century (Trecento).

He is only known by two panels of an ancient polyptych painted between 1340 and 1345. They can be seen at the Musée du Louvre.

His name is derived from one of these panels called The Fall of the Rebel Angels. The other panel depicts Saint Martin dividing his cloak with the beggar.

The Master of the Rebel Angels had an influence on Limbourg brothers for the illuminated manuscript Les Très Riches Heures du Duc de Berry (around 1410).

Petites Heures of Jean de France, Duc de Berry

The Petites Heures of Jean de France, Duc de Berry is an illuminated book of hours commissioned by John, Duke of Berry between 1375 and 1385–90. It is known for its ornate miniature leaves and border decorations.

Several artists were employed in the production. It was completed in two separate stages, each with a distinctive style. The earlier leaves were painted by artists influenced by Jean Pucelle, the later by artists working in the vanguard of the International Gothic period of Gothic art. Because of this, the Petites Heures exemplifies the "rupture in style" that occurred in French illumination in the final two decades of the fourteenth century.A high-resolution facsimile was published in 1988, with monographs by Avril, Dunlop and Yapp.

Robert Campin

Robert Campin (c. 1375 – 26 April 1444), now usually identified with the Master of Flémalle (earlier the Master of the Merode Triptych, before the discovery of three other similar panels), was the first great master of Flemish and Early Netherlandish painting. Campin's identity and the attribution of the paintings in both the "Campin" and "Master of Flémalle" groupings have been a matter of controversy for decades. Campin was highly successful during his lifetime, and thus his activities are relatively well documented, but he did not sign or date his works, and none can be securely connected with him. A corpus of work attached to the unidentified "Master of Flémalle", so named in the 19th century after three religious panels said to have come from a monastery in Flémalle. They are each assumed to be wings of triptychs or polyptychs, and are the Virgin and Child with a Firescreen now in London, a panel fragment with the Thief on the Cross in Frankfurt, and the Brussels version of the Mérode Altarpiece.Campin was active by 1406 as a master painter in Tournai, in today's Belgium, and became that city's leading painter for 30 years. He had attained citizenship by 1410, and may have studied under Jan van Eyck. His fame had spread enough by 1419 that he led a large and profitable workshop. He became involved in the revolt of the Brotherhoods in the early 1420s; this, along with an extra-marital affair with a woman named Leurence Pol, led to his imprisonment. Yet he maintained his standing and workshop until his death in 1444.The early Campin panels shows the influence of the International Gothic artists the Limbourg brothers (1385 – 1416) and Melchior Broederlam (c. 1350 – c.1409), but display a more realistic observation than any earlier artists, which he achieved through innovations in the use of oil paints. He was successful in his lifetime, and the recipient of a number of civic commissions. Campin taught both Rogier van der Weyden (named in these early records as Rogelet de la Pasture, a French version of his name) and Jacques Daret. He was a contemporary of Jan van Eyck, and they met in 1427. Campin's best known work is the Mérode Altarpiece of c 1425-28.

School of Paris (Middle Ages)

School of Paris refers to the many manuscript illuminators, whose identities are mostly unknown, who made Paris an internationally important centre of illumination throughout the Romanesque and Gothic periods of the Middle Ages, and for some time into the Renaissance. Among the most famous of these artists were Master Honoré, Jean Pucelle and Jean Fouquet.The Limbourg brothers, originally from the Netherlands, also spent time in Paris, as well as Burgundy and Bourges, but their style is not typical of the School of Paris of the day.

Many of the painters in Parisian workshops were women. Gradually, especially from 1440 onwards, Parisian illuminators lost international customers, such as the English elites, to their Flemish competitors, based in particular in Bruges and Ghent. Around the same time Tours became for a time the most important French centre.

Très Riches Heures du Duc de Berry

The Très Riches Heures du Duc de Berry (French pronunciation: ​[tʁɛ ʁiʃz‿œʁ dy dyk də bɛʁi]) or Très Riches Heures, (English: The Very Rich Hours of the Duke of Berry), is the most famous and possibly the best surviving example of French Gothic manuscript illumination, showing the late International Gothic phase of the style. It is a book of hours: a collection of prayers to be said at the canonical hours. It was created between c. 1412 and 1416 for the extravagant royal bibliophile and patron John, Duke of Berry, by the Limbourg brothers. When the three painters and their sponsor died in 1416, possibly victims of plague, the manuscript was left unfinished. It was further embellished in the 1440s by an anonymous painter, who many art historians believe was Barthélemy d'Eyck. In 1485–1489, it was brought to its present state by the painter Jean Colombe on behalf of the Duke of Savoy. Acquired by the Duc d'Aumale in 1856, the book is now MS 65 in the Musée Condé, Chantilly, France.

Consisting of a total of 206 leaves of very fine quality parchment, 30 cm (12 in) in height by 21.5 cm (8 1⁄2 in) in width, the manuscript contains 66 large miniatures and 65 small. The design of the book, which is long and complex, has undergone many changes and reversals. Many artists contributed to its miniatures, calligraphy, initials, and marginal decorations, but determining their precise number and identity remains a matter of debate. Painted largely by artists from the Low Countries, often using rare and costly pigments and gold, and with an unusually large number of illustrations, the book is one of the most lavish late medieval illuminated manuscripts.

After three centuries in obscurity, the Très Riches Heures gained wide recognition in the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries, despite having only very limited public exposure at the Musée Condé. Its miniatures helped to shape an ideal image of the Middle Ages in the collective imagination, often being interpreted to serve political and nationalist agendas. This is particularly true for the calendar images, which are the most commonly reproduced. They offer vivid representations of peasants performing agricultural work as well as aristocrats in formal attire, against a background of remarkable medieval architecture.

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