Bio: Limbourg Brothers
(approx. 1370-1416)

The Limbourg brothers, Paul, Jean, and Hermann, were a Netherlandish family of manuscript illuminators. All three died in 1416, presumably of the plague.

Paul is thought to be the eldest and therefore the head of the workshop, but the first mention of any of the brothers was in the late 1390s when Jean and Hermann were apprenticed to a goldsmith in Paris.

In 1402 Paul & Jean were contracted to illuminate a Bible for Philip the Bold, the Duke of Burgundy. In 1404 Philip died and soon afterwards the brothers transferred to the Duke's brother, Jean, Duc de Berry. In the service of the Duc de Berry they enjoyed a privileged lifestyle, moving with the court as it progressed around the Duke's many castles. Their two important works for the Duc are the "Très Belles Heures" (Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York) finished by 1808 or 1809, and the "Très Riches Heures" (Musée Condé, Chantilly), unfinished at the time of their deaths and finished 70 years later by the French illuminator Jean Colombe (1440-1493).

The "Très Riches Heures" with it's 12 beautiful full page illuminations illustrating the months of the year, and full of closely observed naturalistic detail, is generally considered to be one of the cardinal works of the International Gothic style. To the International Gothic tradition of Broederlam and their predecessor at the court of the Duc de Berry, Jacquemart de Hesdin, the Limbourg brothers brought a vitalizing Italian influence, apparent chiefly in their more sophisticated rendering of space.

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