Spitz Master

Datesactive about 1415 - 1425

The Spitz Master, an anonymous manuscript illuminator, worked in France in the first quarter of the 1400s in the circle of the Limbourg brothers. These three brothers are now best known for their illuminations in the Très Riches Heures and the Belles Heures, two renowned manuscripts made for Jean, duc de Berry. Not only is the Spitz Master's work stylistically related to that of the Limbourgs, but he borrowed specific compositions from their books of hours, which suggests that he may have employed in one of the brothers' workshops.

The Spitz Master's name derives from a manuscript he illuminated, owned earlier in the twentieth century by the Spitz family; it is now in the Getty Museum's collection. Nothing is known for certain about his life or career, but he was probably one of many itinerant artists who found work in the increasingly fluid workshops that produced books in fifteenth-century France. This master painted in the widely diffused International style characterized by courtly elegance, but his miniatures still have a distinctive, playful, and intimate quality.