Over the course of a career that lasted nearly forty years, Jean Bourdichon served as official court painter to four successive French kings: Louis XI, Charles VIII, Louis XII, and François I. As court painter, he designed stained glass windows, coins, and gold plate, illuminated manuscripts, and executed independent paintings. Charles VIII set up a workshop for him in his castle at Plessis-lès-Tours and gave large dowries to Bourdichon's daughters, and Bourdichon himself became a wealthy landowner. Although he is recorded as having received commissions for as many as forty paintings in one year, only one of his panel paintings is known to survive. Thus he is today known primarily from his work in manuscripts.
Bourdichon was almost certainly a pupil of the previous court painter, Jean Fouquet; the Getty Museum's book of hours, Bourdichon's earliest surviving work, shows his debt to his mentor. From Fouquet he drew much of his iconography and learned the principles of Italian Renaissance painting.