Limbourg Brothers: ‘February’ from Tres Riches Heures du Duc de Berry

©Photo. R.M.N. / R.-G. OjŽda
February, from Labors of the Months, by the Limbourg brothers

 English Translation: The Very Rich Hours of the Duke of Berry or Très Riches Heures, is the most famous and possibly the best surviving example of manuscript illumination in the late phase of the International Gothic style. It is a book of hours: a collection of prayers to be said at the canonical hours. It was created between c. 1412 and 1416 for the extravagant royal bibliophile and patron John, Duke of Berry, by the Limbourg brothers.[2]

February: A typical winter’s day. Some peasants warm themselves by the fire, another peasant chops wood, and still another goes to market. An enclosure surrounds a farm comprising a sheep pen and, on the right, four beehives and a dovecote. Inside the house, a woman and a couple of young man and young woman warm themselves in front of the fire. Outside, a man chops down a tree with an axe, bundles of sticks at his feet, while another gets ready to go inside while blowing on his hands to warm them. Further away, a third drives a donkey, loaded with wood, towards the neighbouring village.




Wikimedia Commons contributors, “File:Les Très Riches Heures du duc de Berry février.jpg,” Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository, (accessed January 13, 2019).

Wikipedia contributors, “Très Riches Heures du Duc de Berry,” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, (accessed January 13, 2019).

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Book of Hours at wikiwand

Limbourg brothers at wikiwand

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9 Comments Add yours

  1. chris ludke says:

    The two ladies inside look like prostitutes because they’re exposing too much to be just warming themselves by the fire. The lady closer to the door is tilting her head the other way and not showing her knees so she’s not with them. She might be looking at a cat close to her feet, the cat meaning this is a cat house.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. lololol….I don’t have a high quality image, but when I zoomed the screen just now I got an eyeful. 😱 What is that hanging out between her (or his) legs??? I thought this was a book of prayers, but you have given new meaning to “Labors of the Month”! Thanks for your astute observation…and I thought illuminated manuscripts were all about the pretty colors…😂


  2. chris ludke says:

    Oh yeah, that’s a king size bed behind them. From what I heard they were no prudes back then and women who’s husbands died had no choice but to become prostitutes. But the Lady in front isn’t really into it. I mean, how warm could that fire be with the door wide open?! hahahah

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Great points – Now I want to go back and look at the other months with my new enlightened eyes! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. chris ludke says:

        This one tells a story. They’re so poor a lot of them die in the winter like the person without winter clothes. They don’t own the sheep. They didn’t fix the hole in the roof. It must be bitter cold for the sheep to huddle like that.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. So many stories of life captured in one painting.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. the graceful lady in blue dress appears to be lost in contemplation over….. maybe the two inside have stayed over their welcome.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. She does look less than pleased – her body language communicates so much. Thanks for sharing your thoights, Northern Elm. 🙂


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