Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Blue Arc & Medieval Masterpiece

The painting I’m working on now has a board blue arc that reminds me of one of my favorite works of art, Très Riches Heures (Very Rich Hours of the Duke of Berry). In this 15th century illuminated manuscript a blue arc of sky describes the passage of time.

Monthly Labors, August - Très Riches Heures by the Limbourg Brothers, 15th c

Painted by the Limbourg brothers, Dutch painters working in France, the work is in the International Gothic style. International because at that time artists traveled to fulfill commissions for the courtly elite and were influenced toward a more universal style.

The paintings illustrate the pleasures of courtly life but what I find most charming about these paintings is the inclusion of peasants enjoying themselves as well. In the month of August, the well-dressed courtly class prance on horseback through the foreground. The Duke’s castle Chateau d’Etampes occupies the background. In the middle ground of the painting are the peasants. Not only are they seen gathering hay but also they are clearly enjoying skinny-dipping in the river perhaps even more than the nobility enjoys the finer sport of falconry.

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