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Jean (or Jehan) Fouquet (ca.1420–1481) was a French painter and miniaturist.A master of panel painting and manuscript illumination, and the apparent inventor of the portrait miniature, he is considered one of the most important painters from the period between the late Gothic and early Renaissance. He was the first French artist to travel to Italy and experience first-hand the early Italian Renaissance.
Little is known of Fouquet's early life and education. Though long assumed to have been an apprentice of the so-called Bedford Master of Paris it is now suggested that he may have studied under the Jouvenal Master in Nantes, whose works were formerly assumed to be early works by Fouquet. Sometime between 1445 and 1447 he travelled to Italy where he came under the influence of Roman Quattrocento artists such as Fra Angelico and Filarete. During the 1450s he began working at the French court, where he counted kings Charles VII and his successor Louis XI among his many patrons.
He was born in Tours. Little is known of his life, but it is certain that he was in Italy before 1447, when he executed a portrait of Pope Eugene IV, who died that year. The portrait survives only in copies from much later.
Upon his return to France, while retaining his purely French sentiment, he grafted the elements of the Tuscan style, which he had acquired during his period in Italy, upon the style of the Van Eycks, forming the basis of early 15th-century French art and becoming the founder of an important new school.
He worked for the French court, including Charles VII, the treasurer Étienne Chevalier, and the chancellor Guillaume Jouvenel des Ursins. Near the end of his career, he became court painter to Louis XI.
His work can be associated with the French court's attempt to solidify French national identity in the wake of its long struggle with England in the Hundred Years' War.
One example is when Fouquet depicts Charles VII as one of the three magi. This is one of the very few portraits of the king. According to some sources, the other two magi are the Dauphin Louis, future Louis XI, and his brother.
Fouquet's excellence as an illuminator, his precision in the rendering of the finest detail, and his power of clear characterization in work on this minute scale secured his eminent position in French art. His importance as a painter was demonstrated when his portraits and altarpieces were for the first time brought together from various parts of Europe for the exhibition of the "French Primitives" held at the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris.
His self-portrait miniature would be the earliest sole self-portrait surviving in Western art, if the 1433 portrait by Jan van Eyck—usually called Portrait of a Man or Portrait of a Man in a Turban—is not in fact a self-portrait, as some art historians believe.
Far more numerous are his illuminated books and miniatures. The Musée Condé in Chantilly contains forty miniatures from the Hours of Étienne Chevalier, painted in 1461 for Chevalier. Fouquet also illuminated a copy of the Grandes Chroniques de France , for an unknown patron, thought to be either Charles VII or someone else at the royal court.Also from Fouquet's hand are eleven of the fourteen miniatures illustrating a translation of Josephus at the Bibliothèque Nationale. The second volume of this manuscript, unfortunately with only one of the original thirteen miniatures, was discovered and bought in 1903 by Henry Yates Thompson at a London sale, and restored by him to France.
One of Fouquet's most important paintings is the Melun Diptych (c. 1450), formerly in the Collegiate Church of Notre Dame, Melun. The left wing of the diptych depicts Étienne Chevalier with his patron saint St. Stephen, and is now in the Gemäldegalerie, Berlin. The right wing shows a pale Virgin and Child surrounded by red and blue angels and is now at the Royal Museum of Fine Arts, Antwerp. Since at least the seventeenth century, the Virgin has been recognized as a portrait of Agnès Sorel.
The Louvre has his oil portraits of Charles VII, of Count Wilczek, and of Guillaume Jouvenel des Ursins, and a portrait drawing in crayon.
The National Library of France has illuminated parchment manuscripts which recount the history of the Jewish people from Creation to the outbreak of the Jewish revolt against the Romans in A.D. 66.
Melun is a commune in the Seine-et-Marne department in the Île-de-France region in north-central France. It is located in the southeastern suburbs of Paris about 41 km from the centre of Paris. Melun is the prefecture of the Seine-et-Marne, and the seat of an arrondissement. Its inhabitants are called Melunais.
Renaissance art is the painting, sculpture, and decorative arts of the period of European history known as the Renaissance, which emerged as a distinct style in Italy in about AD 1400, in parallel with developments which occurred in philosophy, literature, music, science, and technology. Renaissance art took as its foundation the art of Classical antiquity, perceived as the noblest of ancient traditions, but transformed that tradition by absorbing recent developments in the art of Northern Europe and by applying contemporary scientific knowledge. Along with Renaissance humanist philosophy, it spread throughout Europe, affecting both artists and their patrons with the development of new techniques and new artistic sensibilities. For art historians, Renaissance art marks the transition of Europe from the medieval period to the Early Modern age.
The Limbourg brothers were famous Dutch miniature painters 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.
The book of hours is a Christian devotional book popular in the Middle Ages. It is the most common type of surviving medieval illuminated manuscript. Like every manuscript, each manuscript book of hours is unique in one way or another, but most contain a similar collection of texts, prayers and psalms, often with appropriate decorations, for Christian devotion. Illumination or decoration is minimal in many examples, often restricted to decorated capital letters at the start of psalms and other prayers, but books made for wealthy patrons may be extremely lavish, with full-page miniatures. These illustrations would combine picturesque scenes of country life with sacred images. Books of hours were usually written in Latin, although there are many entirely or partially written in vernacular European languages, especially Dutch. The English term primer is usually now reserved for those books written in English. Tens of thousands of books of hours have survived to the present day, in libraries and private collections throughout the world.
JeanClouet (1480–1541) was a miniaturist and painter who worked in France during the High Renaissance. He was the father of François Clouet.
The Paris Psalter is a Byzantine illuminated manuscript, 38 x 26.5 cm in size, containing 449 folios and 14 full-page miniatures. The Paris Psalter is considered a key monument of the so-called Macedonian Renaissance, a 10th-century renewal of interest in classical art closely identified with the emperor Constantine VII Porphyrogenitus (909-959) and his immediate successors.
The Grandes Chroniques de France is a vernacular royal compilation of the history of France, most manuscripts of which are luxury copies that are heavily illuminated. Copies were produced between the thirteenth and fifteenth centuries, the text being extended at intervals to cover recent events. It was first compiled in the reign of Saint Louis, who wished to preserve the history of the Franks, from the coming of the Trojans to his own time, in an official chronography whose dissemination was tightly controlled. It was continued under his successors until completed in 1461. It covers the Merovingian, Carolingian, and Capetian dynasties of French kings, with illustrations depicting personages and events from virtually all their reigns.
Enguerrand Quarton was a French painter and manuscript illuminator whose few surviving works are among the first masterpieces of a distinctively French style, very different from either Italian or Early Netherlandish painting. Six paintings by him are documented, of which only two survive, and in addition the Louvre now follows most art historians in attributing to him the famous Avignon Pietà. His two documented works are the remarkable Coronation of the Virgin and The Virgin of Mercy. Two smaller altarpieces are also attributed to him.
The Melun Diptych is a two-panel oil painting by the French court painter Jean Fouquet created around 1452. The name of the diptych came from its original home in the Collegiate Church of Notre-Dame in Melun. The left panel depicts Etienne Chevalier with his patron saint St. Stephen and the right panel depicts the Virgin and Christ child surrounded by cherubim. Each wooden panel measures about 93 by 85 centimeters and the two would have been hinged together at the center. The two pieces, originally a diptych, are now separated. The left panel is now in the Staatliche Museen in Berlin and the right panel is now located at the Royal Museum of Fine Arts, Antwerp, Belgium. A self-portrait medallion is also associated with the two panels. Measuring 6 centimeters in diameter, it would have adorned the frame, and consists of copper, enamel, and gold. The medallion is now in the Louvre in Paris, France.
The Dunois Master, also called Chief Associate of the Bedford Master was a French manuscript illuminator believed to have been active between about 1430 and about 1465. His name comes from a book of hours made for Jean de Dunois now in the British Library. He worked in association with the Bedford Master, in whose workshop he seems to have served; scholars consider him to be the most talented of the Bedford Master's assistants. He is usually assumed to have taken over the workshop when the Bedford Master ceased to be active, or to have set up his own with some of the artists. His style is characterized by soft modeling of forms, and a fondness for pale colors and shell gold.
The Hours of Étienne Chevalier is an illuminated book of hours commissioned by Étienne Chevalier, treasurer to king Charles VII of France, from the miniature painter and illuminator Jean Fouquet.
Étienne Chevalier was a major civil servant of the French kings Charles VII and Louis XI. He is also notable for commissioning two major works by Jean Fouquet - the Melun Diptych and the Hours of Étienne Chevalier.
Jean Poyer, was a French miniature painter and manuscript illuminator of the late 15th century. As a multitalented artist - illuminator, painter, draftsman, and festival designer active from 1483 until his death - he was a painter of Renaissance France, working for the courts of three successive French kings: Louis XI, Charles VIII, and Louis XII.
Jean Wauquelin presenting his 'Chroniques de Hainaut' to Philip the Good is a presentation miniature believed to have been painted by the Flemish artist Rogier van der Weyden. It decorates the frontispiece to the Chroniques de Hainaut, MS KBR.9242, Jean Wauquelin's French translation of a three-volume history of the County of Hainaut originally written in Latin by the 14th-century Franciscan historian Jacques de Guyse.
The Book of Hours of Simon de Varie is a French illuminated manuscript book of hours commissioned by the court official Simon de Varie, with miniatures attributed to at least four artists; hand A who may have been a workshop member of the Bedford Master, the anonymous illustrators known as the Master of Jean Rolin II, the Dunois Master and the French miniaturist Jean Fouquet. It was completed in 1455 and consists of 49 large miniatures and dozens of decorative vignettes and painted initials, which total over 80 decorations. Fouquet is known to have contributed six full leaf illuminations, including a masterwork Donor and Virgin diptych. A number of saints appear - Saint Simon is placed as usual alongside Saint Jude ; other pages feature saints Bernard of Menthon, James the Greater and Guillaume de Bourges.
The Master of Robert Gaguin was an anonymous painter, active in Paris around 1485–1500. He was so named by Nicole Reynaud after a manuscript of Robert Gaguin's translation of Julius Caesar's De Bello Gallico, offered by the translator to Charles VIII, king of France. He belongs to a circle of French artists, whose art follows the style of the Master François.
Events from the year 1452 in France.
The book of hours of Joan of France is a 15th-century illuminated manuscript forming a book of hours, named after Joan of France, Duchess of Bourbon, who owned the book in the 15th century. After her death, it passed to Catherine of Armagnac, whose coat of arms was added to the book. After her death, the whereabouts of the book are unknown; it reappeared again in the late 19th century when it was bought by private collector Victor Martin Le Roy. It then passed to his son-in-law, art historian Jean-Joseph Marquet de Vasselot. It was again sold in 2011, and then bought by the Bibliothèque nationale de France, thanks to funding from private donors. It is classified as a national treasure of France. The rich decoration, including 28 full-page miniatures, was mostly made by the so-called Master of Jouvenel.
The Master of Jouvenel was an anonymous master illuminator active between 1447 and 1460. The painter, to whom many manuscripts are attributed, was undoubtedly at the head of a workshop, also called Groupe Jouvenel from which the Master of Boccace of Geneva came from, or the Master of Boethius. The painter owes his name to a manuscript in the Mare Historium commissioned by Guillaume Jouvenel des Ursins, for which his workshop produced 730 miniatures.
The Master of the Vienna Chroniques d'Angleterre is the name conventionally given to a manuscript illuminator active in Bruges between 1470 and 1480. He owes his name to his work on several manuscripts, including one held by the Austrian National Library in Vienna, of Jean de Wavrin's Recueil des croniques d'Angleterre. He specialised in illuminating manuscripts on historical subjects.
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