Thursday, October 18, 2012

A Month of Miracles Part 12 - The Exorcism

Title: The Exorcism
Artist: Limbourg Brothers
Medium: Illuminated Manuscript
Size: tbd.
Date: ca 1412–1416
Location: Musée Condé, Chantilly.

Matthew 12:22-28 - Then they brought him a demon-possessed man who was blind and mute, and Jesus healed him, so that he could both talk and see. All the people were astonished and said, “Could this be the Son of David?” But when the Pharisees heard this, they said, “It is only by Beelzebul, the prince of demons, that this fellow drives out demons.” Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them, “Every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and every city or household divided against itself will not stand. If Satan drives out Satan, he is divided against himself. How then can his kingdom stand? And if I drive out demons by Beelzebul, by whom do your people drive them out? So then, they will be your judges. But if it is by the Spirit of God that I drive out demons, then the kingdom of God has come upon you.”

The Très Riches Heures du Duc de Berry, is often referred to as "le roi des manuscrits enluminés" or "the king of the illuminated manuscripts". A book of prayers to be said at canonical hours was commissioned by Jean, Duc de Berry and was painted by the Limbourg brothers. The Limbourgs have painted the scene in a chapel-like structure, whose slender pillars, blue vaults, and statuettes at either side of the roof. Christ blesses the possessed youth who struggles in his mother's arms, while the demon leaves the boy's head in the form of a small black-winged dragon. Outside and within the chapel groups of figures wearing oriental robes and headdresses express their amazement at the miracle. The sumptuous golden floral work on the blue background surrounds the image.

Limbourg Brothers (Dutch, fl. 1385–1416) refers to Paul de Limbourg and his two brothers, Jean and Herman. The three artists had originally worked under the supervision of Berry’s brother, Philippe de Hardi, on the Bible Moralisée and had come to Berry after Hardi’s death. As of 1411, the Limbourgs were permanent members of Berry’s household. It is also suspected that another book of hours, the Belle Heures, completed between 1408 and 1409, can also be attributed to the brothers. It is suggested that the Limbourg contribution to the Très Riches Heures was completed between 1412 and 1416. Documentation from 1416 was found indicating that Jean, followed by Paul and Herman, had died that year.

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