Egerton 1068, f. 31

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The style of the Master of Jacques de Besançon (fl. in Paris, c. 1480-1500) is known from a small miniature of John with the poisoned cup in an Office of St John (Paris, Bibliothèque Mazarine, ms. 461, f. 9). The colophon in the manuscript records the donation of the work to the confraternity of St John in 1485 by one of its members, the ‘enlumineur’ Jacques de Besançon. It is tempting to identify this artist with Jacques de Besançon himself, but the manuscript also includes a historiated initial in a much cruder style, and nothing proves that the recorded ‘enlumineur’ (an artist responsible for minor decoration) was active also as a historieur (an artist who painted miniatures). The Jacques de Besançon Master was a young collaborator with and a direct successor to an illuminator whose first name only, François, is known. Although the palette he used was generally lighter than François’s, he worked in a similar style and used the same compositions. While the older painter used the typical tracery work only for framing interiors, the Master of Jacques de Besançon also used them to frame landscapes. Stylistically related to the Jacques de Besançon Master is the younger Master of Robert Gaguin (fl. in Paris, c. 1485-1495), who is named after a copy of Robert Gaguin’s French translation of Caesar’s De Bello Gallico (Antiquariat Tenschert, cat. Leuchtendes Mittelalter 6 (1993), no. 35) offered to the French king Charles VIII (reigned 1483-1498) in 1488. Both sometimes worked for Anthoine Vérard, a successful publisher in Paris, illuminating individual copies of printed editions, some of which were dedicated to princes of the time.  
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