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Belles Heures of Jean de France, duc de Berry, 1405–1408/9. Herman, Paul, and Jean de Limbourg (Franco-Netherlandish, active in France by 1399–1416). French; Made in Paris. Ink, tempera, and gold leaf on vellum; 9 3/8 x 6 5/8 in. (23.8 x 16.8 cm). The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, The Cloisters Collection, 1954 (54.1.1).
January: Youth and Old Age, Aquarius, Folio 2r
In the quatrefoil at the top of the page, a youth and an old man sit back to back, a Janus-like allusion to the beginning and end of the year. Below, the figure of Aquarius is shown as a powerful man wearing only a loincloth, pouring water from a jug supported on his shoulder and braced by his hip-planted arm. The especially elaborate border includes two additional quatrefoils at the side, with the duke’s arms in a shield supported by a swan, one of his emblems.
See The Medieval Garden Enclosed blog for more about this calendar page.