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The distribution of artistic styles in the Grandes Chroniques de France suggests that, beginning in the reign of Charles V, libraires closely supervised artists who produced books for the king and certain members of his court. Although the majority of the books listed in the Catalogue of Manuscripts were either illustrated by one artist or have no surviving miniatures,[1] 26 manuscripts were painted by two or more artists. These can be divided into two groups: one in which the basic units of the book were gatherings on which (once they had been told what subject to paint) the assigned artists worked independently and produced books that combine diverse styles, and another in which artists collaborated on individual gatherings and seem to have worked more more closely together, since the style of the miniatures in these manuscripts is much more homogeneous. The first group seems to have been produced independently of the court.[2] Although it includes the first Grandes Chroniques presented to Philip III, most of its books are nonroyal; among them are the chronicle supervised by Thomas of Maubeuge, Jeanne d'Amboise's manuscript in Castres (which may be associated with Geoffroy of Saint-Léger), and the group of three books that follow directions to the illuminator preserved in the margins in the chronicle in Valenciennes.[3]

Most manuscripts in the second group are from the royal circle of Charles V; they include Charles V's chronicle (B.N. fr. 2813) and several books copied after it for John of Berry (Ex-Bute) and Charles VI (B.N. fr. 10135 and B.N. fr. 2608).[4] These may be commissions executed for court by the group of libraires , artists, scribes, and binders who worked for the king. Their distribution of hands suggests that the artistic unit was an individual bifolium. Closer supervision by the libraire might account for their homogeneity of style.

Whereas several painters who decorated these chronicles were sophisticated artists (for example, the Master of the Coronation of Charles V, the Master of the Coronation Book, the Master of the Bible of Jean de Sy, the Boucicaut Master, the Virgil Master, or the Master of the Cité des Dames ), many more were artists whose work is less refined and, perhaps because of this, unpublished. Their style is similar to the hasty, economical style popularized in the early fourteenth century for vernacular illustration.[5] They work on the unadorned parchment ground in grisaille or in ink sketches colored with thin washes of color. In order to begin to document the activity of these less sophisticated painters and to provide comparative material for better known artists, I append a list of artists who painted more than one Grandes Chroniques .


Artist of B.N. fr. 2597:
Épistre Othéa (Cambridge, Newnham College Library, Ms. 900 95)[6]

Artist I of Baltimore, W. 138:
W. 138 (Artist I); Valenciennes, B.M. 637 (Artist IV)

Artist I of Baltimore, W. 139:
W. 139 (Artist I); B.N. fr. 2814

Artist I of Brussels, B.R. 2:
W. 126, dated 1402–10 (Artist II); B.R. 2 (Artist I); B.N. fr. 23140 (main miniature and patterns of marginal decoration); Munich, Cod. Gall. 4 (Artist I)

Artist I of Grenoble, Ms. 407 Rés.:
Grenoble, B.M. 407 Rés. (Artist I); B.N. fr. 10132 (Artist II)

Artist II of Lyon, P.A. 30:
Lyon, B.M. P.A. 30 (Artist II); B.N. fr. 2615 (Artist IX)

Artist III of Castres, B.M.:
Castres, B.M. (Artist III); B.N. fr. 10132 (Artist I)

Artist III of Guildhall 244:
Guildhall 244 (Artist III); Vienna, ÖNB 2564

Artist III of B.N. fr. 2604:
B.N. fr. 2604 (Artist III); Valenciennes, B.M. 637 (Artist I) (These artists are closely related but not identical)

Boucicaut Master (active c. 1410–23)[7]
B.L. Cotton Nero E. II (Artist I)

Egerton Workshop (active c. 1405–20)[8]
B.L. Cotton Nero E. II (Artist III)

Jean Fouquet (active c. 1440–80)[9]
B.N. fr. 6465

Jehan de Niziéres (active at the end of the fourteenth century)[10]
Oxford, Douce 217 (Artist I)

Mahiet (Master of the Vie de Saint Louis [B.N. fr. 5716]) (active c. 1330–50)[11]
B.L. Royal 16 G VI (Artist I)

Master of the Berry Apocalypse Group (active c. 1407–18/20)[12]
Besançon, B.M. 863; Prague, Ms. 23 A 12

Master of the Bible of Jean de Sy (active c. 1355–80)[13]
B.N. fr. 2813 (Artist V); Paris, Société des autographs des manuscrits français, Ex-Bute (Artist I)

Master of the Cambrai Missal (active c. 1335–40)[14]
B.L. Royal 16 G VI (Artist II)


Master of the Cité des Dames (active c. 1400–1420)[15]
B.R. Ms. 3 (Artist I); Phillipps 1917; M. 536; Mazarine 2028 (Artist I);
B.N. fr. 6466–67 (?), fr. 20352–53 (Artist IV)

Master of the Coronation Book of Charles V (active c. 1360s–80s)[16]
B.N. fr. 2813 (Artist IV); Paris, Société des autographs des manuscrits français, Ex-Bute (Artist II)

Master of the Coronation of Charles VI Group (active c. 1370–80)[17]

1. B.N. fr. 2813 (Artist I)

2. B.N. fr. 2813 (Artist II), fr. 10135 (Artist I)

3. B.N. fr. 2813 (Artist III)

4. B.R. 2 (Artist II); B.N. fr. 17270, fr. 10135 (Artist II), fr. 23140 (Artist II)

Master of the Épistre Othéa (active c. 1403–08)[18]
Mazarine 2028 (Artist II)

Master of the Roman de Fauvel (perhaps Geoffroy de Saint-Léger) (active c. 1320s–30s)[19]
B.R. 5; Castres, B.M. (Artist I); B.N. fr. 2615 (Artist III); Switzerland, Private Collection (Ex-Lord Mostyn)

Master of Luçon Group (active c. 1390s–1417)[20]
B.R. 3 (Artist II)

Master of Marguerite d'Orléans (active c. 1420s–60s)[21]
B.N. fr. 2605; Châteauroux, B.M. 5 (Artist I)

Painter D of the Vie de Saint Denis (active 1320s)[22]
B.N. fr. 2615 (Artist IV)

Principal artist of B.N. fr. 823 (active c. 1370s–90s)[23]
B.L. Add. 21143; Guildhall 244 (Artist IV); Lyon, B.M. 880 (Artist I?); Arsenal 5223; B.N. fr. 2606 (Artist II), fr. 2813 (Artist VI); Vienna, ÖNB Hs. 2547

Second artist of B.N. fr. 823 (active c. 1400–10)[24]

1. Belgium, Private Collection, Excised Miniatures; B.L. Add. 15269; B.N. fr. 2606 (Artist I), fr. 2616–20 (Artist I); Ste.-Gen 783; Turin B.N.L. II. 8

2. Valenciennes, B.M. 637 (Artist II)

Royal Master Group (active c. 1320–30)[25]

1. Cambrai, B.M. 682; B.N. fr. 2615 (Artist I)

2. B.N. fr. 2615 (Artist II)

Sainte-Chapelle Group—Main Line (active c. 1250–70s)[26]
Ste.-Gen. 782 (Artist I)

Troyes Master, Follower (active c. 1390–1415)[27]
Toulouse, B.M. 512


Virgil Master Group (active c. 1390s–1410/20)[28]

1. W. 139 (Artist II); B.L. Royal 20 C VII (Artist II); Musée Condé, Ms. 867 (Artist I); Geneva, B.M., Comités Latentes, 182 A & B

2. W. 139 (Artist III); Musée Condé, Ms. 867 (Artist II)

3. B.L. Royal 20 C VII (Artist III)

4. B.L. Royal 20 C VII (Artist IV); B.N. fr. 73, fr. 20350 (Artist III)

5. B.L. Royal 20 C VII (Artist V)

6. B.N. fr. 20350 (Artist I)

7. B.N. fr. 20350 (Artist II)

8. B.N. fr. 20350 (Artist IV)

9. B.N. fr. 20350 (Artist V), fr. 2616–20 (Artist III)

10. B.N. fr. 20350 (Artist VI); W. 126 (Artist III)

11. Munich, Cod. Gall. 4 (Artist IV)


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