The Early Modern World, C. 1300–1600

Northern European Renaissance

Who were the Limbourg brothers?

The three Limbourg brothers were the most famous manuscript illuminators in Flanders and worked near the end of the fourteenth century and the early fifteenth century. Paul, Herman, and Jean were originally trained as goldsmiths in Paris and went on to become the official court painters to the Duke of Berry around 1404. Arguably their most important work was the Très Riches Heures, a book of hours made especially for the Duke. The book included calendar pages, which listed saint’s feast days, zodiac signs, and astrological information. The Limbourg brothers completed fantastically realistic, full-page paintings for each month of the year. The paintings are full of life and vivacity, for example, the deep blues and powdery whites of the February page evoke the chill of winter. The brothers used very fine brushes, and most likely magnified lenses, in order to achieve such a high level of detail. The work of the Limbourg Brothers is a good example of the International Gothic style.


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