b. about 1425 Amiens, France, d. 1489 Valenciennes, France
Not long after his death, Simon Marmion was praised by the poet Jean Lemaire de Belges as the "prince of illumination." This reputation probably owed much to the artist's proficiency in depicting nature and his skill as a storyteller. Marmion was especially gifted in the representation of light and the textures of objects, as well as the creation of engaging psychological content in the gestures and facial expressions of his human subjects. Marmion was a member of a family of painters from Amiens and probably trained in his father's workshop before establishing his own workshop in Valenciennes. Philip the Good, duke of Burgundy, summoned him to Lille in 1454 to help in preparing scenery and other decorations for an extravagant banquet celebrating the Feast of the Pheasant. In the course of his career at the Burgundian court, Marmion worked for some of the most illustrious patrons in Burgundy, including Duke Philip, the legendary bibliophile and art patron, his son Charles the Bold, Margaret of York, and various other family members and courtiers. In addition to manuscript illuminations, his commissions included paintings, altarpieces, portraits, and decorations for court festivities.