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Les Très Riches Heures du Duc de Berry.

18 Mar

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The Limbourg brothers: Herman, Paul, and Johan (1385 – 1416), were famous Dutch miniature painters from the city of Nijmegen, The Netherlands. Active in the early 15th century in France and Burgundy, they worked in the style known as International Gothic. They created what is certainly the best known late medieval illuminated manuscript, a book of hours, called “Les Très Riches Heures – The Very Rich Hours”. It was made on demand for Jean, the Duke of Berry. The man was a rich, luxury loving bon vivant who prized and collected expensive art objects. The book of hours was the first type of book made outside the monastery by secular craftsmen for a secular market. It was a personal prayer-book, used as an object of piety and of consumption. The twelve calendar illustrations of Les Très Riches Heures are the most famous pages of this masterpiece. Click twice on the image to see every miniature detail for each month!

Gothic Naturalism by Claus Sluter.

14 Mar

Detail of Angel Claus Sluter

Claus Sluter was the most famous sculptor of his days (1340-1405) and a key figure in the school of Gothic Art. Sluter’s sculptures are naturalistic and expressive, and more earthly bound than idealistic. He restored the monumental scale and naturalism of the classical era. His later work is highly emotional, using facial expressions, figural stance, and drapery. This can be particularly seen in the heavy folds of cloth that so many later imitators draped around their figures. His style of naturalism went on to influence a generation of realist Renaissance painters like Jan van Eyck, Roger Van der Weyden, Matthias Grunewald and Albrecht Durer. Sluter’s most famous surviving work is the Well of Moses to be visited in Dijon, France. It shows strongly individualized figures of Moses, David, and the Prophets. A masterpiece of dignity and power.

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Rose Window.

13 Mar

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The abbey church of Saint-Denis near Paris is considered the first Gothic, or French Style, building. Its characteristics include the pointed arch, the ribbed vault and the flying buttress. It emphasizes verticality and light. Abbot Suger, the commissioner of the abbey, underscore how deep an emotional and spiritual chord is struck by the play of light that passes through glass. By the time Saint-Denis was completed, stained glass had been in use for over a hundred years in relatively small windows of certain churches. Many contemporary authors see the rose window as a mandala as it operates on spiritual, meditative and emotional level. The instructional aspect is visible by the subjects chosen: God at the centre, the six days of Creation, the Zodiac with the order of the heavens, the labours representing the order of the earth, Adam and Eve eating the fruit and being expelled from Eden.

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