Conference: Treasures of Written Heritage

4th May at the Institut National du Partimoine (Paris)

As part of the series of conferences, Treasures of Written Heritage: Manuscripts of the BnF under the Magnifying Glass, the National Institute of Cultural Heritage (Inp) and the National Library of France (BnF) present a conference on Frederick III of Aragon’s Book of Hours, a Franco-Italian masterpiece illuminated in Touraine.

The Treaty of Granada, signed by Louis XII and Ferdinand the Catholic in 1500, saw the annexation of southern Italy by France and that of Sicily by Spain. In August of 1501, the last of the Aragonese kings of Naples, Frederick III, was deposed by French forces and obliged to leave his kingdom. He was exiled to France on 6th September 1501 and took up residence at Plessis castle, where he died in 1504. Several scribes and a miniaturist accompanied him to the Touraine region. Among them was the miniaturist Jean Todeschino, who contributed to the decoration of Frederick of Aragon’s Hours, in collaboration with Jean Bourdichon, a painter from Touraine, and his assistants.

Written in humanistic script, most likely by an Italian, this precious book of hours contains sixty-four scenes painted by Bourdichon on independent folios. Rich decorative borders painted by Todeschino and by a member of Bourdichon’s workshop who followed the Italian master’s designs surround these scenes. This book would therefore have been painted in Touraine between 1501 and 1504. The manuscript’s rich borders, composed of pilasters, sconces, monsters and precious stones, show a bountiful, Classical-inspired repertoire of Italian origin, a repertoire that was to have a profound impact on Bourdichon’s workshop and the Touraine region in the early 16th century.

The manuscript will be brought out of the reserves specifically for this occasion.

Lecturers: Maxence Hermant, Curator in the Department of Manuscripts, Medieval Section, BnF, and Gennaro Toscano, Director of Research and Scientific Relations, Inp

Tuesday, 4th May, 6:15pm-8:00pm
Colbert Auditorium, 2 rue Vivienne, 75002 Paris
Admission is free, limited seating is available.