Puzzle of

Les Trés Riches Heures: Novembre

The Labour of the Months: November. A swineherd knocks down ripe acorns for his pigs.

This miniature was painted by Jean Colombe, c. 1485, finishing work the Limbourg Brothers had left incomplete in 1416, when they and the Duke all died, presumably of plague.

Unlike the images by the Limbourgs, which generally include a detailed representation of one of the Duke’s real castles, this picture shows a completely imaginary landscape. Also unlike the Limbourgs, Colombe has painted a peasant in untorn (if disheveled and gaping) clothing of unusual color and silk-like shimmer. The middle ages were passing, the Renaissance was about to begin. The half-wild pigs seem pretty smug about it all; the dog is placidly majestic.

Public domain: From the Labors of the Months section of the Trés Riches Heures of Jean, Duc du Berry

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