André Beauneveu (Paperback)
This catalogue accompanied an exhibition at the Groeninge Museum, Bruges, which celebrated one of the greatest European artists of the late fourteenth century, André Beauneveu, apparently born in Valenciennes c. 1335. Active throughout the Southern Netherlands, his reputation grew swiftly and in 1364 he was commissioned by the King of France, Charles V, to create a group of royal tombs at St Denis. In the 1370s he oversaw another ambitious funerary project, for Louis de Mâle, Count of Flanders, at Courtrai, whilst continuing to undertake major civic commissions at Ypres, Mechelen and his home town of Valenciennes. Beauneveu spent the last years of his career in Bourges working for the most celebrated royal patron of all, Jean, Duc de Berry.
The extraordinary scope of Beauneveu's talent was fully exploited by Jean de Berry, for whom he produced manuscript illuminations, made designs for stained glass and oversaw the construction of his château at Mehun-sur-Yevre. However, it is primarily his unrivalled skill in the handling of stone which gives Beauneveu such significance, not only in the context of Northern sculpture but also for the arts of Europe as a whole.
The known sculptural oeuvre of Beauneveu, however, is not substantial. The reappearance of the Virgin and Child once in the collection of Eduoard Aynard at the Abbey of Fontenay and its new attribution to this sculptor "who had no better nor equal in any land" dramatically increases our knowledge of his work and must entail a rethink of many histories of French and Flemish art in the fourteenth century, for we now have not two but three life-sized figures from which our view of his style and achievements can be formed.