Harley 4336 (vol. 2), f. 1v

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The life of Jean Colombe is exceptionally well recorded in the archives of Bourges. In 1463 he rented a house with the scribe Clément Thibault, and in 1471 he built a house that was later occupied by his son in 1493. Colombe is known to have completed two works for Charles I, duke of Savoy: the famous Très Riches Heures, started by the Limbourg brothers (Chantilly, Musée Condé, ms. 65) but left unfinished at the death of John, duke of Berry in 1416, and an Apocalypse bearing the arms and emblems of the dukes of Savoy, apparently started by Jean Bapteur (Madrid, Biblioteca Nacional, E. vit. 5). Colombe’s large œuvre comprises devotional and secular manuscripts, often in large formats with long cycles of miniatures, and executed with the help of assistants. The Bourges archives also give the names of Colombe’s son and grandson, Philibert and François, respectively. François signed a miniature in a Histoire de la destruction de Troie la grand (Paris, Bibliothèque nationale de France, nouv. acq. fr. 24920) and continued to work in Colombe’s style after his death. Colombe’s illuminations are influenced by the work of Jean Fouquet, at least compositionally, while Fouquet’s amazing spatial effects did not interest the artist. A book of hours, started by Fouquet but left unfinished, was later completed by Colombe for Jean Robertet (New York, Pierpont Morgan Library, M.834); Colombe was impressed by Fouquet’s transforming the beginnings of the texts into illusionist placards positioned before the miniatures.  
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