Jean Pucelle (French, active in Paris, ca. 1320–1334)
The Hours of Jeanne d’Évreux, ca. 1324–1328
Made in Paris
Grisaille and tempera on vellum; 3 1/2 x 2 5/8 in. (8.9 x 6.2 cm)
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, The Cloisters Collection, 1954 (54.1.2)
The two-headed god Janus, who looks both backward toward the past and forward to the future, presides over a table set for the January feast, the most commonly used activity for the month in medieval calendar representations. Although January was literally a month of feasting in the Middle Ages, followed by the Lenten austerities of February, these representations derive from the allegorical traditions of the Roman calendar. Here, Janus drinks from the cup of the New Year held in his right hand, while the figure on his left empties the cup of the old year into a basin.