Royal 19 C IV, f. 1v

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The Master of the Bible of Jean de Sy (fl. in Paris, c. 1350-1380) is named after the illumination he contributed to a Bible (Paris, Bibliothèque nationale de France, fr. 15397) translated by Jean de Sy. Previously, he had been known as the Boqueteaux Master from the conspicuous umbrella-shaped trees (boqueteaux, in French) that feature in his landscapes. This appellation is, however, misleading as he was not alone in using this motif which had perhaps first been introduced by the Master of the Remède de Fortune (Paris, Bibliothèque nationale de France, fr. 1586). The Jean de Sy Master’s style shows the influence of Jean Pucelle but moves toward a greater naturalism, especially in the representation of nature. Small figures are set into verdant landscapes, often enlivened by animals, flowers, and the characteristic umbrella trees. Facial features and hair are indicated in red and softly modelled with grey and brown, following the tradition begun by Jean Pucelle and continued by Jean le Noir. The Jean de Sy Master’s workshop became the most prolific in Paris during the reign of Charles V (1364-1380). A stylistically related artist is the Master of the Coronation Book of Charles V, named after that manuscript in the British Library (Cotton, Tiberius B VIII, ff. 35-80). Another productive illuminator is the younger Master of the Coronation of Charles VI (Paris, Bibliothèque nationale de France, fr. 2813); he often collaborated with the Jean de Sy Master. Jean Bondol (documented 1368-1381), a South Netherlandish painter and illuminator in the service of Charles V, signed the frontispiece to a Bible historiale presented to the king in 1372 (The Hague, Rijksmuseum Meermanno-Westreenianum, MS 10 B 23). The style of the frontispiece, however, differs from the rest of the book’s illumination, which is painted in the typical Parisian style from the third quarter of the century. Thus, while the Master of the Bible of Jean de Sy can be associated with the court painter Jean Bondol, he probably cannot be identified as him.  
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