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Book by Marrow James
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Leading French painters in the late medieval period executed miniatures for lavishly illuminated books of hours. In the mid-fifteenth century, Simon de Varie commissioned such a book. Completed in 1455, it included five priceless works by the most eminent French painter of the time, Jean Fouquet, as well as other striking paintings by two of his contemporaries.
In the seventeenth century, Simon de Varie's book was divided into three sections and sold as separate volumes. Two of these volumes are today in the Royal Library in The Hague. The third volume--thought lost until 1984, when it surfaced in a private collection and was subsequently acquired by the Getty Museum--contains the first miniatures by Jean Fouquet to have been discovered in eighty years.
This beautiful book will reproduce in color all of the miniatures and historiated initials in the original manuscript, along with selected text pages with secondary decoration. Comparative illustrations also accompany the two essays in the volume. Marrow's text addresses the role of books of hours in late medieval culture; the contents and form of de Varie'sHours; and the relationship of the miniatures by Fouquet to the rest of the artist's oeuvre. In a related essay, Francois Avril discusses the position of Simon de Varie and his family in mid-fifteenth-century France.
The publication of The Hours of Simon de Varie adds to the Getty's impressive list of publications on illuminated manuscripts begun in 1990 and including the widely acclaimed facsimileMira calligraphiae monumenta.
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