Studies of Illuminated Manuscripts of the European Middle Ages

February 19, 2019
06:00 PM - 07:00 PM
Cultural Enrichment
CAB 218

Jean Pucelle was a prominent illuminator active in Paris around the 1330s. His death year was discovered in the 1970s in a document so that scholars had to modify attributed works to him in the previous era. His biographical information is rather scarce and fragmentary; other types of primary sources were used to restore his career. Property ownership records, colophons in manuscripts, inscriptions on metalwork, tax records, or church accounting ledgers were all employed to document his life and work. Illuminated manuscripts by Jean Pucelle and his collaborators are predominantly prayer books called the Book of Hours. Some are psalters and breviaries. These books were created for private donors and readers including Queen Jeanne d’Evreux, wife of King Charles IV of the Capetian dynasty. Using various methodologies such as codicology, iconography, and philology, scholars have interpreted how intricately the illumination program was customized for the book’s intended reader/owner. This paper presents importance of primary sources in the study of illuminated manuscripts in the European Middle Ages and demonstrates how to apply them to specific historical inquiries.