Limbourg Brothers, Les Très Riches Heures du duc de Berry: Janvier
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.
The Zodiac signs for Capricorn and Aquarius flank the image of Apollo driving the sun across the sky in his chariot.
Festive costumes, dogs on the table
For an excellent essay on the the history and techniques of illuminated manuscripts, see the Wikipedia essay, “Illuminated Manuscript”