Seminars meet each weekday morning, 09.15-10.45 and 11.15-12.45, with afternoons free for course-related field trips, individual study or exploring the many beautiful places in and around the city.
This session will introduce the culture of commercial book production in the later Middle Ages (fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries). We’ll consider the nature of workshop practice in France and the Low Countries and the innovations in painting. We’ll conclude by considering the growing importance of private patronage to the book trade at this time.
We’ll look at the first of our chosen manuscripts, the Tres Riches Heures of the Duke of Berry after exploring the processes of manuscript production. We locate the manuscript within the context of aristocratic patronage and bibliophilia. We’ll consider the manuscript’s pictorial content and the ways in which the Limbourg brothers’ illustrations for the calendar pages were innovative to the extent that they influenced later generations of artists.
This session will concentrate on the Hours of Mary of Burgundy. It will approach the manuscript as a work of private devotion, considering the purpose and meaning of a Book of Hours to an individual. At the same time we acknowledge the importance of the book as the product of significant aristocratic patronage through the work of the named artists and scribe.
Today we look at the tradition of producing illustrated chronicles for the French kings. These secular books are also products of aristocratic patronage but exist to create and present a national narrative. We will consider the relationship between text and image and the ways in which these books could be consumed. We also visit the Old Library at Christ Church College.
In the final session we will look at the Sforza Hours as a product of both the later Middle Ages and the Renaissance. We’ll consider this book for what it can tell us about female patronage and usage, and also for the ways in which the two named artists engage creatively with new and older painting styles.
Destination: Christ Church Old Library
Excursion Rating: Easy
Up to an hour's walk on even ground or less than half an hour's walk on rough ground.