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 Henri Bellechose

 

 

Bellechose Henri      


( fl 1415; d before 28 Jan 1445).

South Netherlandish painter. He was one of the artists who came from the South Netherlands to work for the French royal family. On 23 May 1415 he succeeded Jean Malouel as court painter and Valet de Chambre to John the Fearless, Duke of Burgundy, in Dijon, and he may already have been connected with Malouel’s workshop. On 5 November 1415 Bellechose was paid for painting four small wooden pillars with angels, which were placed around the high altar of Notre-Dame, Dijon. On 19 May 1416 the duke authorized the purchase of materials for Bellechose to complete two panels, one of the Martyrdom of St Denis and another showing the Death of the Virgin, for the Charterhouse of Champmol. Bellechose also carried out decorative work, including painting banners for the Duke’s castle of Talant near Dijon in 1416 and coats of arms for the funeral of John the Fearless in 1419. On 5 April 1420 Bellechose was appointed court painter to Philip the Good, successor to John the Fearless. His first known commissions were again of a decorative nature, including work for the funerals of Margaret of Bavaria, wife of John the Fearless, in 1423 and of Catherine of Burgundy, daughter of an earlier Duke of Burgundy, Philip the Bold, in 1425 and for the marriage of Philip the Good’s sister Agnes of Burgundy in 1424. During these years he had eight assistants and two apprentices; travelling artists, including some from German territory, also worked in his shop on a temporary basis. Around this time he married Alixant Lebon, daughter of a Dijon notary. On 21 November 1425 Philip the Good ordered an altarpiece of the Virgin venerated by John the Fearless and Philip the Good, accompanied by SS John the Evangelist and Claude, for the chapel of the castle at Saulx-le-Duc in Burgundy. Bellechose painted three statues for the new entrance gate to the palace in Dijon in 1426. In August 1429 he received an important commission for St Michel, Dijon, to make an altarpiece with Christ and the Twelve Apostles and an antependium showing the Annunciation. Exactly a year later his name appears for the last time in the ducal accounts. The salary of the artist had decreased by two thirds since 1426 and from 1429 he was not paid at all. The fact that Philip the Good moved the centre of his administration to the Netherlands and enlisted the services of Jan van Eyck considerably diminished the prestige of Dijon and the artists who worked there. Bellechose was still alive in 1440, though absent from Dijon.

 


St. Denis, detail of the so-called "St. Denis Altarpiece".

 

 


Martyrdom of St Denis
1416

 
 

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