Jean Pucelle is one of the most famous medieval miniaturists, and although he also worked as a painter and even as a goldsmith, the truth is that his most valued works are the illustrations he made for different manuscripts and that today are kept in the most important museums in the world, as is the case of the Breviary of Belleville made between the years 1323 and 1326 which is preserved in the National Library of Paris or his masterpiece the Book of Hours of Jeanne d'Evreux, owned by Metropolitan Museum of New York and which was created between 1325 and 1328., which can be seen exhibited in the Museum of the Cloisters of this North American city.
Book of Hours of Jean d’Evreux
The fact is that the works of this French artist were tremendously influential in the conception of the so-called International Style Gothic Art. And it is that in his miniatures he was able to create a new sense of perspective, as well as a new way of modeling the figures for which the treatment of light effects is very important.
Much of his work was done from his workshop in Paris, but that didn't stop him from wanting to see creations from other places, which is why he traveled to Belgium and even Italy, places from which he obviously brought new ideas, resources andtechniques.
Pucelle's Belleville Breviary
Hence his art of figures dominated by delicacy and where not a single detail is missing, and although he makes miniatures, if you look closely at these figures you can even see that he presents them to us as tender, harmonious and affable, as can be seen on the pages of the Belleville Breviary.
Although, the most emblematic of his production are not the religious scenes, but those of a more courteous nature, since he dedicated many of his illustrations to hunting scenes, games and amusements. A theme that lasted a long time, especially because after him, his assistantJean Lenoir.continued to do similar and highly prestigious work.
However, although he had this important workshop and had assistants, his great work: The Book of Hours of Jeanne d'Evreux is entirely his creation, made to order of the French King Charles IV for his wife. Here you can see some pages with lighting that occupies their entire surface, as well as in others the scenes appear in the margins with the grisaille technique (that is, in black and white, where from time to time I put some color).
This book of hours, or what is the same a collection of prayers, is a true jewel and a true revolution at the time, due to the expression of the characters, their spatial capacity or their naturalism.