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Emulating the Work of the Limbourg Brothers’ Through Illuminated Manuscript Illustration.

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The Belles Heures of Jean de France is a prayer book – also called a book of hours, which was made for Jean de France, the Duke of Berry by Herman, Paul and Jean de Limbourg, more commonly known as The Limbourg Brothers. The Limbourg Brothers were actively making artwork in France during the early 1400s. Though they were all still teenagers they were very skilled as artists, and so they were hired to create a personal Bible for Jean de France by his brother Philip the Bold, Duke of Burgundy.
The book was to be used as a private devotional to the Virgin Mary; in fact Belles Heures actually translates to beautiful hours. This title is not only used because the book is dedicated to the Virgin Mary, but also because the Belles Heures is
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The precise folio I copied from the Belles Heures of Jean de France, Duke of Berry comes from the Hours of the Passion. The folio, numbered 142r, is entitled “Christ Offered the Sop”. This folio is one of three folios in total that depict in Crucifixion of Christ in the Belles Heures. The scene portrayed is taken from an account in the Gospels in which Christ on the cross calls out that He is thirsty. The soldiers standing by soak a sponge in vinegar that they stick onto a spear or a reed and offer to Him. Flanking either side of the cross are the Virgin Mary and the young apostle John the Beloved (Saint John) who are weeping as Christ suffers.
As I looked at other illuminations from this book of hours, I noticed that the foreground of each usually appeared to be very small and limited in space while I found that many of the background spaces were filled with some type of pattern. This folio is a perfect representation of this style that the Limbourg Brothers implemented in their manuscript work which I kept in mind to include as I did my own recreation of the folio.
The materials that the Limbourg Brothers used in creating this folio were ink, tempera, and gold leaf on vellum. I substituted a few of these materials in the making of my own. Instead of vellum, I used calligraphic parchment paper, which I found had a color similar to the
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