Les Très Riches Heures du Duc de Berry

Paradise

Folio 126r

To illustrate the Wednesday Office devoted to all the saints, Jean Colombe represented Paradise. As before (folios 79r and 86v), assistants seem to have executed the master's original design, not entirely satisfactorily.
The elect are shown on three levels. On a kind of balcony the crowned Virgin sits on the Lord's right under a canopy made of a beautiful, draped carpet. As Christ blesses her, she leans toward Him, forming a composition like that found in thirteenth-century sculptures on the portals of innumerable cathedrals.
On either side of the platform kneels a throng of saints; we recognize Michael on the left, and, on the right, John the Baptist dressed in a camel's-hair shirt, Peter, and Paul. The rest blend into a sea of heads, of which only the halos are visible in the background.
Below, another multitude of saints kneels, all facing Christ and the Virgin so that we see them in three-quarters view or from the back.
On the right is a holy person wearing the arms of the House of Savoie; this is probably Maurice, patron saint of the Valais, in whose honor the Duc Amédée VIII created an order of knighthood and whom Jean Colombe was understandably anxious to include in this book destined for the Duc and Duchesse de Savoie.
Here in the foreground the halos are so bright that they hide the saints' heads - an original but unfortunate idea that gives rather the effect of a mechanical stack of gold coins.
In the bas-de-page, angelic choirs, accompanied by viols, flutes, a portable organ, and a spinet, sing praise to God.

small image (30KB) --- large image (239KB) --- The Virgin and Christ (large) (224KB) --- Bas-de-page (large) (208KB)

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