Friday, 31 May 2013

June - Très Riches Heures

The month of June shows the Hotel de Nesle, the Duc de Berry's Parisian residence, and Sainte Chapelle clearly on the right looking much the same as it does today. It was possible to see the same residence in the month of May but only the rooftops were visible. 
It is hay making time - the men are scything the meadow in unison, whilst the ladies are raking and stacking the hay into neat piles.
The slate roofs of the Palace rise against the blue Parisian sky, and if you click on to the picture it is possible to see the minute details in the background. The river Seine flows past the meadow edged with willow trees and an inlet of bullrushes. A ferry lady has just dropped someone off at one of the palace entrances and he can be seen running up the steps to the palace doorway. There is a beautifully manicured garden tempting us over the palace walls and once inside a covered stairway with people going up and down. When clicking the image it is also possible to see one of the maidens has her foot still within the uncut grass.
Once again the blue tympanum at the top carries the chariot of the sun making its yearly cycle through the heavens, and the June zodiac signs of Gemini the twins and Cancer the crab.
This book of hours is a form of breviary where the prayers are intended for recital at the canonical hours of the liturgical day. Canonical hours refers to the division of day and night for the purpose of prayers. The regular rhythm of reading led to the term 'book of hours'.
Note 
A Breviary consists of a number of prayers and readings in a short form. 
Month of July here.
Flaming June by Fredrick Lord Leighton
Hoping that June lives up to its reputation - that the sun shines on all of you spreading its warm golden rays of happiness to us all. This last May day on the cusp of June has started well with the sun high in the sky, the butterflies flitting around, and the birds singing.

32 comments:

  1. Let's hope the sun will shine in June! That's a lovely painting above! Happy weekend, Rosemary!

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    1. It is a beautiful painting, one that I have liked every since I first saw it.

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  2. Hello Rosemary

    Your welcome to the month of June is joyful, hopeful, and full of promise. The blue colour in the women's dress gives the image a look of contentment. I have been enjoying studying Flaming June, a masterpiece!
    Wishing you a joyful month of June

    Helen xx

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    1. Flaming June is a wonderful painting and one which I once saw in an exhibition. It now lives in Puerto Rico but I saw it when it was on loan in London. It is extremely large, the lady is life size. The painting is thought to allude to the figure of a sleeping nymphs or naiad. The Oleander branch is said to symbolise the fragile link between sleep and death.

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  3. Hello Rosemary, This page in the Heures is a literal illustration of "make hay wile the sun shines". The problem is that it gets so hot here in the summer, outdoor activities can become very unpleasant.

    By the way, my guess is the field laborers didn't wear such brightly-dyed clothes. This painting is probably the earlier equivalent of Marie Antoinette's Milkmaid fantasies.
    --Road to Parnassus

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    1. Hello Jim - Très Riches Heures is exactly 500 years old, and I am sure that you are correct about the outfits the field workers are wearing. It is most likely a highly romanticised vision that we are seeing, and I suspect that the Limbourg brothers who painted it were enjoying using the new paint colour made from lapis-lazuli. It was extremely expensive, but they would have had plenty of access to this glorious blue through the exceedingly rich patronage of the Duc de Berry.

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  4. A most beautiful post fitting for the end of May.
    June is a very happy month for me and a special month.
    lots happening every year.
    The painting by F. Lord Leighton.. has always fascinated me.. my sister has a copy of course..hanging in her lounge.. its beautiful.
    another person that june is a special month for.

    Dear Rosemary.. I lost my blog. have worked all day and into the early hours of yesterday, and thismorning to try and retrieve it.. it became so complicated with google and + friends.. I have joined bloglovin.. as friend connect will finish at the end of July.. I am sure that you are aware of this.. I was not.. and have lost all my e mail addresses on gmail.. please will you follow me.. iwould be devestated if "Where five valleys meet" were not on my roll.
    I am still learning.. i hope that you get this.. vals alentejo bloglovin
    i am alsofollowing you. xx x happy weekend.

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    1. Dear Val - sorry you lost your blog, but happy that you found it again. I did know that GFC is supposed to be ending at the beginning of July and I joined bloglovin about a month ago. I put you on bloglovin then so do not worry about it. I am not too sure what google circles is all about so have avoided it. I am sorry that GFC is finishing - not sure what blogger is up to.
      The painting Flaming June is really lovely - I saw it once at an exhibition, and you may be surprised but it is a huge picture - the lady is actually life size.

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  5. Dear Rosemary, I was studying the Book of Hours that you have presented us and thought to myself that, with those astrological notations at the top of each page, perhaps the Duc de Berry regarded his book as a very modern item. I wonder if there was a sense of "high tech" in times of old?

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    1. Perhaps using sophisticated graphics to illustrate the astrological progression through the year was cutting edge at the time, and in that case may be there would be some comparison with today's high tech world.

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  6. Hope that June is better than May.
    In the Netherlands we had the coldest spring in 40 years.
    Hope sun is coming soon!
    Nice story you told.

    Have a nice Weekend,
    Inge, my choice

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    1. Dear Inge - It has been our coldest May for many years, I think it has been the same over the whole of norther Europe. Wonderful day today, fingers crossed that it will continue.

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  7. Loved all the information of the first painting that you have conveyed but I have to say Flaming June has caught my heart. She is tremendous and arresting. I've never seen this painting before and I LOVE it! Looking forward to May :)

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    1. Dear Rosemary - I am so pleased that you like Flaming June - it is a painting I have loved for many years. Glad to have introduced you to it too.

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  8. Over here may ends with the wind blowing like crazy, temperatures that feel freezing and me wishing once more I had a fireplace in the house, o how cosy that would be ;-)
    Let's all hope June will be as flaming as on the wonderful painting you're showing here.
    Bye,
    Marian

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    1. It will be Marian - I have convinced myself that it will now be wonderful. Northern Europe has had its coldest spring for many many years, it is now time for the chilly weather to depart and leave us with some warmth,

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    2. The Scandinavian countries have been luckier, they've had far better weather than down here I saw in the news today.
      So you're boarding a train are you? Traveling the world.... Have a wonderful time!
      Marian

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  9. These paintings are beautiful!!! I love how in Flaming
    June the woman's dress is so delecate and sheer…

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    1. She is almost nude but not quite - the first painting is an illuminated manuscript and is 500 years old, and the second is by a Victorian English painter - sadly it no longer lives here, but I have seen it in an exhibition.

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  10. Two great paintings, I would hang both in my living room.

    Greetings,
    Filip

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    1. I agree with you Filip I too would be happy to hang both of them.

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  11. A lovely finishing sentiment Rosemary. I have rose buds all over the garden waiting for Junes arrival. I do hope the weekend remains sunny so that she can bust out all over!
    Happy weekend.

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    1. It would be lovely to see some of your flowers Paul - hope you will give us a treat and show them when they open.

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  12. There seems to be more sun in England than in Italy right now , so strange !I really love the painting of the girl sleeping in the chair, a true masterpiece. Wishing you a great weekend with lots of sun !

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    1. The weather is so strange at the moment - I understand that much of the warmest sunniest weather at the moment is in Scandinavia - The painting of Flaming June is one of Fredrick Lord Leighton's best.

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  13. June is my favourite month because it will be the start of Summer's warm and sunny weather. It is also my birthday month. My astrological sign is Cancer. Lots to celebrate this month. Happy weekend Rosemary.

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    1. June is a lovely month to have a birthday to celebrate - Happy Birthday to you when it arrives.

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  14. The weather sound lovely, I hope it continues. It's our first day of winter today in Tasmania and I have a rose in bloom :)

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    1. Winter with you sounds perfect.

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  15. It's lovely to see one of the illustrations from Jean Duc de Berry's Book of Hours - I've adored these illustrations for years; the colours are so striking and the detail in the scenes is fascinating. The final painting is gorgeous, too; I'm sure it must have been among the postcards of pre-raphaelite/romantic paintings I used to collect as a teenager.

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  16. Dear Rosemary,very beautiful paintings!!I realy like your story!
    Have a lovely weekend!
    Dimi..

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  17. I am loving the Book of Hours series, Rosemary, and once again a hit of that gorgeous blue! It is difficult to imagine a meadow right there by the Seine, compared to Paris today, but how charming it all looks. I have always had a soft spot for Lord Leighton, and his wonderful orange tones: perfect for summer and June!

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