Chicago is fortunate to have complementary exhibitions at the Art Institute of Chicago and the Newberry (Illuminated Manuscripts and Printed Books: French Renaissance Gems of the Newberry) exploring the Renaissance in France. Artists working in France in the 15th and 16th centuries produced large religious and secular objects (e.g. tapestries, sculptures, and altarpieces), but they also made illuminated books, manuscripts, and other small, precious objects. Their courtly patrons, in fact, often privileged the intimate and literary over the big and purely aesthetic. This illustrated lecture places the Books of Hours and other illustrated manuscripts and books avidly collected by French nobility in the context of a Renaissance France at the crossroads of northern Gothic artistic traditions, influences from Italy, and the classical past.
Sheila ffolliott is Professor Emerita of Art History at George Mason University and has lectured and written on the patronage and collecting of Catherine de' Medici.