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The Bed of the King of Navarre Set on Fire

Master of the Getty Froissartabout 1480–1483

The J. Paul Getty Museum

The J. Paul Getty Museum
Los Angeles, United States

The popularity of Jean Froissart's narrative derived in part from the author's taste for dramatic stories, exemplified by the death of the king of Navarre, shown in this miniature. Froissart recounted that the king, while awaiting his young mistress, called for his bed to be warmed. His servant proceeded in the usual way, but there was a disastrous mishap: the bed caught fire and the king died of his burns several days later. Froissart remained ambiguous about whether the fire was intentionally set, attributing the death to "God or the devils." The artist communicated the possibility of conspiracy by presenting courtiers in the room, whispering among themselves while the king burns in his bed. As vivid orange and yellow flames rise around the king's pillows, the figure in tights stands in an elegant dancelike pose that seems utterly inappropriate to the disaster. In his rendering of setting and characters, the artist revealed an interest in observing the natural world. He differentiated textures of wood, stone, and tile and attended to details of the figures that make them convincing as representations of living humans, such as the puffed-up cheeks of the servant blowing his bellows and the carefully modeled anatomy of the king's naked upper body.

Details

  • Title: The Bed of the King of Navarre Set on Fire
  • Creator: Master of the Getty Froissart
  • Date Created: about 1480–1483
  • Location Created: Bruges, Belgium
  • Physical Dimensions: Leaf: 48 × 35 cm (18 7/8 × 13 3/4 in.)
  • Type: Folio
  • External Link: Find out more about this object on the Museum website.
  • Medium: Tempera colors, gold leaf, gold paint, and ink on parchment
  • Terms of Use: Open Content
  • Number: 83.MP.150.274v
  • Culture: Flemish
  • Credit Line: The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, Ms. Ludwig XIII 7, fol. 274v
  • Creator Display Name: Master of the Getty Froissart (Flemish, active about 1475 - 1485)
  • Classification: Manuscripts (Documents)

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