"The Hours of Louis XII", painted by Jean Bourdichon, court painter to four successive French kings, was one of the greatest French manuscripts of its time. It was produced around 1500, at a time when the court of France was interested in the art ...
and ideas of the Italian Renaissance. It was unusual in its three-quarter length format and large-scale miniatures and demonstrates a new direction in the art of Bourdichon. This book brings together the evidence of the late Janet Backhouse, distinguished scholar and former Curator of "Illuminated Manuscripts" at the British Library, who identified the elements of the "Hours of Louis XII". This rediscovery of a manuscript that had disappeared more than 300 years ago provoked the J. Paul Getty Museum and the Victoria and Albert Museum, both of whom had purchased pages from the dismembered book in 2003, to introduce this treasure to the public, and publish all that was known about it. "A Masterpiece Reconstructed" reproduces in full colour the sixteen known miniatures from the "Hours of Louis XII", together with a selection of other books illuminated by the artist, his teacher Jean Fouquet and their contemporaries. An introduction by Janet Backhouse and essays by experts Thomas Kren, Nancy Turner and Mark Evans reflect on such issues as the discovery of the manuscript, the provocative miniature of the Bathsheba bathing, the significance of the book within Bourdichon's work, and the individual histories of each of the surviving portions of the book, and the appendix reconstructs the book's devotional contents and programme of illumination.