Livre des fais d'Alexandre le grant

Object Details

Title:

Livre des fais d'Alexandre le grant

Artist/Maker(s):

Master of the Jardin de vertueuse consolation and assistant (Flemish, active 3rd quarter of 15th century)

Quintus Curtius Rufus (Roman, active 1st century A.D.)

Vasco da Lucena (Portuguese, died 1512)

and Jean du Quesne (French, active 1473 - 1474)

Culture:

French and Flemish

Place(s):

Bruges (illuminated) Belgium Lille (written) France (Place created)

Date:

about 1470 - 1475

Medium:

Tempera colors, gold leaf, gold paint, and ink on parchment bound between wood boards covered with red velvet; two engraved brass clasps

Dimensions:

Leaf: 43.2 x 33 cm (17 x 13 in.)

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The Getty Museum's imposing manuscript of Portuguese humanist Vasco da Lucena's Book of the Deeds of Alexander the Great is the product of the interest in classical antiquity that characterized Renaissance humanism. The text is a French translation (Livre des fais d'Alexandre le grant), completed in 1468, of a biography of the Macedonian conqueror Alexander the Great by the first-century Roman writer Quintus Curtius Rufus. In this manuscript's text and miniatures, Alexander is presented as a complex figure, a man capable of bravery and good judgment but also subject to human foibles. Both the positive and negative lessons of Alexander's story were considered valuable for a Renaissance prince and military leader such as Charles the Bold, duke of Burgundy, to whom Vasco dedicated his text.

The Getty Museum's copy of this widely diffused text, a large and lavishly illuminated manuscript with fourteen miniatures, was probably made for an aristocrat associated with the Burgundian court, someone who would have particularly appreciated the manuscript's scenes of battle and court intrigue. While the scribe Jean du Quesne copied the text in Lille, the anonymous illuminator, who has been identified as the Master of the Jardin de vertueuse consolation, worked in Bruges.

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Bibliography

Ross, Marvin C. Mediaeval and Renaissance Illuminated Manuscripts: A Loan Exhibition, exh. cat. (Los Angeles: Los Angeles County Museum, 1953), p. 37, no. 136.

von Euw, Anton, and Joachim M. Plotzek. Die Handschriften der Sammlung Ludwig. 4 vols. (Cologne: Schnütgen-Museum der Stadt Köln, 1979-1985), vol. 4 (1985), pp. 240-55.

Touwaide, Alain. "Visions du monde médiéval à travers les manuscrits enluminées du J. P. Getty Museum (Malibu)." Scriptorium 45, no. 1 (1991), pp. 298-302.

Masterpieces of the J. Paul Getty Museum: Illuminated Manuscripts (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1997), pp. 96-97, entry by Thomas Kren.

Smeyers, Maurits. Flemish Miniatures from the 8th to the mid-16th Century: The Medieval World on Parchment (Turnhout: Brepols, 1999), pp. 357, 416 (no. 17).

Soudavar, Abolala. Mécènes érudits et peitures énigmatiques du XVe siècle. 2009. http://www.LULU.com, pp. 90-107, figs. 117 (fol. 123, detail), 120 (fol. 99, detail), 121 (fol. 133, detail), 122 (fol. 204, detail), 123 (fol. 149, detail), 124 (fol. 226, detail), 125a (fol. 175, detail), 126 (fol. 41, detail)

Kren, Thomas. Illuminated Manuscripts from Belgium and the Netherlands in the J. Paul Getty Museum (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2010), pp. 19, 72-73, ill.

Scott, Margaret. Fashion in the Middle Ages (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2011), pp. 6, 110-17, figs. 84-89, ill.

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Keene, Bryan. "Quel tocco di verde: giardini in miniatura." Alumina Pagine Miniate 12, no. 46 (Jul-Sept. 2014), p. 34, ill.