The Tres Riches Heures of Jean, Duke of Berry

Jean Longnon, Author, Millard Meiss, With, Raymond Cazelles, With George Braziller $24.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-8076-1220-0
Widely praised for providing unprecedented access to perhaps the most closely guarded and celebrated of medieval illuminated manuscripts, Braziller's sublime 1969 facsimile is denatured in this first paperback version. Only the jacket has retained the metallic gold that supplements the four-color art of the cloth edition; within, the plates are flat and often indistinct. The preface, for example, cites the ``sparkling diapered background'' of a particular night scene, but here the stars not only do not sparkle but are barely perceptible. The absence of the gold has a disastrous effect on the manuscript's famous architectural renderings, robbing them of their depth of field and subtlety of color. The text, written by three unimpeachable art historians, is unchanged, although the legends (previously facing illustrations) are now inconveniently segregated in a section following the plates; one also wishes that the bibliography had been updated. Surely this relatively inexpensive paperback has been designed with the goal of making the Tres Riches Heures even more accessible; ironically, the reproductions are so dramatically inferior that the purchase of the volume is a false economy. $30,000 ad/promo; BOMC and QPBC selections. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 02/27/1989
Release date: 03/01/1989
Paperback - 978-0-8076-1226-2
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