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The Prayer Book of Charles the Bold: A Study of a Flemish Masterpiece from the Burgundian Court

Antoine de Schryver
Preface by Thomas Kren

In January 1469, the accounts of Duke Charles the Bold of Burgundy record a payment to the scribe Nicolas Spierinc for having written "some prayers for my lord." Seven months later, the same accounts note a payment to the illuminator Lievin van Lathem for twenty-five miniatures plus borders and decorated initials in the same manuscript. In this seminal study, the late Antoine de Schryver argues that the documents refer to the prayer book of Charles the Bold now in the J. Paul Getty Museum (Ms. 37)—one of Charles's most splendid commissions from the greatest era of Netherlandish Burgundian book painting.

De Schryver's in-depth research opens a window onto the careers of Van Lathem family members, who served three rulers of the Burgundian Netherlands over forty years, and Nicolas Spierinc, the most inventive and brilliant scribe of Charles's court. This volume reproduces all of the book's miniatures and some of its elegant calligraphic pages.

Antoine de Schryver was professor of art history, University of Ghent, The Netherlands. Thomas Kren is former associate director for collections and former senior curator of manuscripts at the J. Paul Getty Museum. He is the coauthor and editor of Illuminating the Renaissance: The Triumph of Flemish Manuscript Painting in Europe (Getty Publications, 2003).

"This book provides a wealth of knowledge that no one interested in early Netherlandish paintings can ignore."

"The book combines iconographic analysis with historical-contextual study in a way not often met with in art history."
—International Review of Biblical Studies


312 pages
6 3/4 x 9 3/4 inches
46 color and 124 b/w illustrations
17 line drawings
ISBN 978-0-89236-943-0

Getty Publications
Imprint: J. Paul Getty Museum