Additional 35254 V

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In the early 1480s, Jean Bourdichon (b. 1457, d. 1521) succeeded Jean Fouquet as peintre du roi and valet de chambre; he retained these positions under four successive French kings: Louis XI, Charles VIII, Louis XII, and François I. Although documented as an illuminator, painter, and designer for decorative arts, most of his known works are illuminated manuscripts. Two of his panel paintings, however, survive: a triptych of the Virgin and Child (Naples, Certosa di San Martino) and a retable with the Entombment of Christ (Gonesse, Eglise Saint-Pierre-et-Saint-Paul). Bourdichon’s identity has been known since 1880, when a payment document for the richly illuminated Grandes Heures d’Anne de Bretagne, completed in 1508 (Paris, Bibliothèque nationale de France, lat. 9474), was identified. He illuminated another large book of hours of comparable design for Anne’s husband, Louis XII (reigned 1498-1515); this work was probably made to celebrate the king’s coronation in 1498. Dismembered in the late seventeenth century, the Hours of Louis XII survives only as an incomplete and disorganized volume of text and disparate single leaves, of which this is one. For a long time, Bourdichon was thought to be the most important follower of Jean Fouquet; recent identification of his main contemporary, the celebrated Jean Poyer, questions this long held assertion. Bourdichon employs dramatic close-ups with volumetric half-figures occupying the foreground. His use of Renaissance elements is probably second-hand and not the result of a journey to Italy.  
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