Artist's Name: Limbourg Brothers
Piece Name: The Book of Hours
Date: ca. 1400
Period: Northern Renaissance
Material: Ink on vellum
Purpose: Illuminated Manuscript
A Book of Hours was used for reciting prayers and contained liturgical passages intended for private study. It also gathered together a calendar of local religious holidays, penitential psalms, litanies to the saints and devotional prayers. The calendar pages of the Limbourg Book of Hours (fully titled The Very Sumptuous Hours of the Duke of Berry) are some of the most famous in the history of manuscript illumination. Alternating scenes of nobility with scenes of peasant life, the pictures are vividly colored (blue pigment was rare and very expensive at the time) and richly detailed. Above each scene is a lunette depicting the sun as a chariot traveling through the 12 months and zodiac signs. The inclusion of the Duke of Berry, who commissioned the piece, among the figures in some of the scenes showed him as a pious, powerful and magnanimous leader, as well as a sophisticated art patron.
(Click each for larger view)