Livre de la Chasse

Object Details

Title:

Livre de la Chasse

Artist/Maker:

Unknown
Gaston Phébus (French, 1331 - 1391)

Culture:

French

Place:

Brittany, France (Place created)

Date:

1430 to 1440

Medium:

Tempera colors, gold paint, silver paint, and gold leaf on parchment bound between pasteboard covered with red morocco

Dimensions:

Leaf: 26.4 × 18.4 cm (10 3/8 × 7 1/4 in.)

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Hunting was the favorite sport of aristocrats during the Middle Ages, and the Livre de la Chasse (Book of the Hunt), written in 1387, was the most popular guide for hunters. The text's author, Gaston Phébus, was an important political and military leader known for the magnificence and sophistication of his household. He himself owned sixteen hundred sporting dogs and two hundred horses.

This copy of the treatise, produced a generation after Gaston's death, features over sixty images covering hunting-related topics ranging from the use of camouflage to proper veterinary techniques. The illuminations are painted in a highly decorative style. The trees and figures are treated as flat forms arranged into pleasing patterns, while the shallow sense of space and lack of modeling lend the images a naive quality. Such stylized compositions are reminiscent of designs used for tapestries, which may have inspired some of the illuminations in this book.

Related Works
Exhibitions
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French Illumination in the Late Middle Ages (October 15 to December 29, 1991) (fols. 108v - 109)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum (Malibu), October 15 to December 29, 1991
Illuminated Secular Manuscripts (January 24 to April 9, 1995) (fols. 51v - 52)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum (Malibu), January 24 to April 9, 1995
Ten Centuries of French Illumination (April 23 to July 7, 1996) (fols. 81v - 82)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum (Malibu), April 23 to July 7, 1996
French Manuscript Illumination of the Late Middle Ages (August 3 to September 26, 1999) (fols. 108v - 109)
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The Medieval Bookshelf: From Romance to Astronomy (January 24 to April 9, 2006) (fols. 81v - 82)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), January 24 to April 9, 2006
Medieval Beasts (May 1 to July 29, 2007) (fols. 61v - 62)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), May 1 to July 29, 2007
The Medieval Scriptorium (November 24, 2009 to February 14, 2010) (fols. 110v - 111)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), November 24, 2009 to February 14, 2010
Stories to Watch: Narrative in Medieval Manuscripts (February 22 to May 15, 2011) (fols. 96v - 97)
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Bibliography

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"Bibliotheken." Allgemeine Literatur-Zeitung, Intelligenzblatt 80 (May 19, 1804), p. 643, no. 163.

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The Hunting Book of Gaston Phébus: Manuscrit français 616, Paris, Bibliothèque nationale. Manuscripts in Miniature 3 (London: Harvey Miller Publishers, 1998), p. 78.

Belozerskaya, Marina. "Good Dog: Model Canines in Renaissance Manuscripts." In Tributes in Honor of James H. Marrow: Studies in Painting and Manuscript Illumination of the Late Middle Ages and Northern Renaissance. Jeffrey F. Hamburger and Anne S. Korteweg, eds. (London and Turnhout: Harvey Miller Publishers, 2006), p. 70, fig 3.

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Grimsted, Patricia Kennedy. "Books for Tractors? Interwar Dispersal and Sales of Russian Imperial Palace Books." In Treasures into Tractors: The Selling of Russia's Cultural Heritage, 1918-1938. Anne Odom and Wendy R. Salmond, eds. (Washington D.C.: Hillwood Estate, Museum & Gardens, 2009), pp. 302, 325-27, fig. 13.6, ill.

Scott, Margaret. Fashion in the Middle Ages (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2011), pp. 78, 82-83, 106, figs. 58-59.

Black, Maggie. The Medieval Cookbook. Rev. ed. (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2012), figs. 3, 16, 50.

As-Vijvers, Anne Margreet W. Re-Making the Margin: The Master of the David Scenes and Flemish Manuscript Painting around 1500. Diane Webb, trans. (Turnhout: Brepols, 2013), p. 201n33.