Duchess Anne of Brittany’s influence as a patron played a critical role on early Renaissance French literature. She employed poets, writers and historians such as Jean Marot and Pierre Le Baud as secretaries, almoners and heralds. When her husbands went on campaign she sent them to describe their travels. The library she expanded at Blois stands as a monument to her handiwork. Her patronage of artists like Master Jean Bourdichon who created The Great Hours of Anne de Bretagne has left France and the world a great treasure.
Well-educated herself, Anne believed in the importance of educating girls. In about 1505 she commissioned an exquisite Primer for her five-year-old daughter Claude (1499-1524)
Its fourteen pages contain the alphabet and standard Christian prayers set within a rich pictorial narrative. Intended both to educate and entertain her, the slim picture book tells the story of salvation, from the Creation of the World to the Day of Judgement. From its loose brushwork, relatively pale palette, and the gold architectural frames experts believed it is the work of Master of Antoine de Roche.
Anne of Brittany continues to be a romantic figure in French history, and part of that romantic image is her cultivation of poets and artists at the royal […]