Limbourg Brothers, Les Très Riches Heures du duc de Berry: Janvier, c. 1412-1416

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This famous illuminated manuscript was created for Duke Jean de Berry, in or around 1412-1416 by the Limbourg Brothers. The duke himself can be seen seated, wearing a blue robe, in the lower right section of the image.

The illustration is one of the “calendar series,” with each month presenting a typical scene  of social gathering appropriate for the time of year. At the time of the creation of the Très Riches Heures, January was a time for feasting and exchanging gifts. Above the crowds of people looms the Zodiac, whose influences guide the affairs of the people below.

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The Zodiac signs for Capricorn and Aquarius flank the image of Apollo driving the sun across the sky in his chariot.

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Festive costumes, dogs on the table

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For an excellent essay on the the history and techniques of illuminated manuscripts, see the Wikipedia essay, “Illuminated Manuscript”

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