The Légende Dorée of the Bibliothèque Municipale of Rennes. A Comparative and Interdisciplinary Approach of the Manuscript 266, Illuminated Exemplar Dated c. 1400, in the French Version of Jean de Vignay.
Triple Keywords
Number concept
Art, Western (Western countries)
Western literature (Western countries)
Religious belief
Grammar, Comparative and general--Context
Standard of value


The aim of this dissertation is the analysis of a French manuscript of the Légende Dorée, written at the end of the 13th century by the Dominican Jacques de Voragine and translated into French before 1348 by Jean de Vignay. This manuscript is number 266 in the Bibliothèque Municipale of Rennes; it was produced at about the end of the 14th century. After studying the history of the text and its reception, I applied a codicological approach of the manuscript and sixteen other extant manuscripts of the text, made between 1348 and 1430, in order to compare them to each other. Also, those sixteen manuscripts have been fully described. Next to these comparisons about the way how the books were made, I compare the iconographic choices of the Rennes manuscript with the others to show the relations between text and images and the originality of each iconographic program although they use traditional motives. The themes of the iconography seem to have played a major role in the conception of the program by the workshop and show how the artists expressed the main subjects of the text of Voragine. Once the stylistic characteristics of each artist were defined in order to give evidence of an organisated workshop, I went back to the whole corpus to research former owners of the books, using the inventories. As I did not want to accept the idea that the manuscripts were made just to prove the wealthy situation of these people, I used the fact that they had close relationships with new religious trends in order to demonstrate that the Légende Dorée was read with a sincere devotional purpose. In this way, the Rennes manuscript has found its place in the medieval artistic production and in a larger debate; the French Légende Dorée has been re-evaluated in the medieval society.

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