The Limbourg Brothers
Written and researched by Margaret Odrowaz-Sypniewska, B.F.A.

The Duke of Berry, a far from admirable character, and lavish art patron, was the brother of the King of France. Charles V, "the Wise," becomes King of France in 1634, on the death of his father, John II (1350-1364) in London, while in captivity in the Tower. In the year 1379 the second war between England and France developed (possibly because of the English's treatment of their former king?

See the castle of Charles V. The Duke of Berry owned all of Burgundy (S.E.France). Three brothers were commissioned by the duke for artwork that would showcase his courtiers and his estate in a Book of Hours..

Pol, Herman, and Jehanequin de Limbourg (Flemish) were the goldsmiths and manuscript illuminators who created Tres Riches Heures de Duc de Berry. These books were very popular in the Middle Ages, and contained prayers to the Virgin Mary and rich miniatures. This luxurious book represents the advanced phase of the International Style. The brothers studied in Italy and were influenced by the great master of Tuscany. This works calendar depicts the life of man and nature throughout the months of the year.

This manuscript is housed today in the Musee Conde in Chantilly (near Paris, France). The three brothers died before finishing this work, but it contains some outstanding art work with depictions of the duke's priceless chateau with his lords and ladies. Several of his calendars pages were devoted to the life of the nobility (see above).

The Limbourg brothers also painted a book of hours, known as the Belles Hueres of "Beautiful Hours." This manuscript is now housed in the Metropolitian Museum of Art in New York City, New York (Hoving, Thomas, Art for Dummies. New York: IDG Books Worldwide, Inc., 1999)


In the background is the Castle of Saumur, on the Loire in France.

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