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Likeness, Loyalty, And The Life Of The Court Artist: Portraiture In The Calendar Scenes Of The Très Riches Heures

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Chapter Summary

This chapter outlines an alternative explanation for the appearance in the Très Riches Heures of one or more naturalistic portraits. In particular, it points to ways in which the Limbourg Brothers may have been encouraged by their courtly environment to personalize this manuscript in this particular way. In order to do so, the chapter focuses on ways that naturalistic portraiture formed part of a broader visual language that facilitated the representation of individuals in the late Middle Ages. In addition to naturalistic portraits, that language included what Michel Pastoureau has termed 'para-heraldic' signs. The chapter discusses the broader context of those signs, exploring how they were used, the places they appeared, and the motivations of their makers. It concludes by pointing to ways in which that evidence can inform our understanding of the calendar scenes in the Très Riches Heures.

Keywords: Limbourg brothers; naturalistic portraiture; para-heraldic sign; Très Riches Heures

10.1163/ej.9789004175129.i-216.16
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