Tres Riches Heures du Duc de Berry - January

By the Limbourg Brothers

Revised 5 December 1996

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[January] This painting depicts the Jean de Berry at a feast or banquet. It has been suggested that it could depict the Feast of the Epiphany, which in this case was celebrated in the hall in the Hotel d'Grac. The bears and wounded swans depicted are emblems of Jean de Berry. In the middle of the painting, near Jean de Berry, is the inscription, 'Aproche, Aproche'. These words are present to let everyone know that on this festive occasion, the Prince is accessible to any and all persons wishing to pay the Prince their respects. Some have suggested that that the tapestry in the background may depict the Trojan War. Others believe that the tapestry depicts a more contemporary battle of importance to Jean de Berry. (The name of the battle eludes me for the moment.) This may be the tapestry that was known to have been woven for Jean de Berry in 1385. Note also, the wicker firescreen behind the Duke. It makes a wonderful halo effect doesn't it? This is not a coincidence if you know what I mean.

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