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The Book of Hours of Johannete Ravenelle and the Parisian Book Illumination Around 1400
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Arts, Department of Art History.
2002 (English)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Within the French book of hours C 517e in the manuscript collection of the University Library in Uppsala, the name of the owner, Johannete Ravenelle, appears in a prayer. Examination of the decoration, miniatures and texts demonstrates that ms C 517e is consistent with Parisian art and books of hours around 1400. The main purpose of the dissertation is to document and present additional illuminated works by the painter of the Ravenelle Hours, identical with the Master of Paris BN fr. 159. For this purpose stylistic and iconographic criteria has been used. It has been possible to identify 25 extant manuscripts, of which 13 were illuminated solely by this artist. These comprise a representative sample of Parisian book production of the time. Several illuminators collaborated in 12 of the manuscripts. In some of them, the painters totalled more than four, but most of the works had two or three artists. Many of these illuminators are known from other works, and there is no reason to believe they constituted a workshop. Instead, other factors must have determined which artists worked together and when.

The Ravenelle Painter is representative of Parisian contemporary art from both stylistic and iconographic perspective. He was not an innovator but worked within an established convention. At times his illuminations also reveal a greater familiarity with motifs found only within a limited group, that is, manuscripts illuminated by Jacquemart de Hesdin, Pseudo-Jacquemart, or their most immediate successors. The affiliation with these artists is displayed in style as well as in iconography. Motifs of particular interest are the Annunciation, Annunciation to the shepherds, Adoration of the Magi, Funeral Service, and St. John on Patmos. The figures and compositions of the Ravenelle Painter also show that he constantly utilized his own pictorial concepts, irrespective of for whom or with whom he worked. Simple modifications allowed the same figures or parts of compositions to be adapted to new ends.

The Ravenelle Painter is a model representative of illuminators working in Paris at the turn of the 15th century. He worked within a two hundred-year tradition of book production, closely tied to the university. Many artisans combined various occupations within book production, thus creating a multi-faceted structure of cooperation within a fairly defined cadre of functionaries. In accordance with recent research, this study suggests that Parisian book illuminators not were organized hierarchically, with a master heading a group of more or less skilled assistants. Instead, it appears that the artisans cooperated within various coalitions in a much more loosely organized manner.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis , 2002. , 167 p.
Figura: Uppsala studies in the history of art, ISSN 0071-481X ; 28
Keyword [en]
Art history, Illumination of Books and Manuscripts, Miniature Painting, Painting, Gothic, Book Production, Medieval, Artists’ workshops, Illuminators, Books of Hours, Manuscript Design, Art Patronage, Jean de France, duc de Berry, Johannete Ravenelle, late 14th Century, 1390–1410, the Master of BN fr. 159, Uppsala university Library ms UUB C 517e, Petites Heures de Jean de Berry (BN lat. 18014), Iconography
Keyword [sv]
National Category
Art History
Research subject
History of Art
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-1773ISBN: 91-554-5207-8OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-1773DiVA: diva2:161353
Public defence
2002-03-22, Vasasalen, Slottet, Uppsala, 10:15
Available from: 2002-02-28 Created: 2002-02-28 Last updated: 2015-02-04Bibliographically approved

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