Puzzle of

Les Trés Riches Heures: Decembre

The Labour of the Months: December. Conclusion of a wild boar hunt, in front of the Château de Vincennes.

Alexander points out that the whole picture is asserting aristocratic power, even though no aristocrat is shown: the boar is killed in a royal forest (where no peasant could hunt on pain of death), du Berry’s castle looming the background. Traditional pictures of boar-killing emphasize the danger of the animal and bravery of the hunters; in this one, the dead boar is overwhelmned by the dogs du Berry loved, which can be barely pulled off its corpse. I think the trees are shown still clothed in golden leaves, not bare-branched as would be traditional in winter, to evoke du Berry’s golden wealth.

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

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