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Jean, Duc de Berry's Book of Hours- September

September in the Tres Riches Hours

    The summer months come to an end in the Tres Riches Houres with a depiction of the grave harvest. The setting is the magnificent Château de Saumur, near Angers, which belonged to the Duc de Berry’s nephew, Duc Louis II d'Anjou. While its towers and battlements still stand today, in 1412 construction had only ended about a decade earlier, so the castle is depicted here as it was in its summer: tall, imposing towers with buttresses, crenelations, slate tiled roofs and golden, fleurs-de-lys weather vanes.
    The Château completely dominates the scene, and the similarity of its style to its predecessors in the calendar makes the difference in the foreground all the more jarring; for part of what makes September so unique in this Book of Hours is that it was begun by the Limbourg brothers, but completed seventy years later by Jean Colombe. Colombe’s style is readily evident in the heavier colors, stockier figures, and less crisp lines. Likely, he worked over a sketch left by his predecessor, and the harvesters’ clothing remains more akin to Limbourg’s era than that of his successor.
     Women and young men wear aprons to protect their simple gowns and tunics as they fill baskets with ripe grapes from the famed, Angevin vineyards. As we have seen before, one of the harvesters has rolled down his chausses about his knees, revealing a pair of tight, white braies. The woman in the lower left wears a long, liripipe hood, while her male companion wears a short garment that looks as if Colombe may have been unsure if he were looking at a doublet or a tunic.
    Although Jean Colombe was simply not the peer of Paul de Limbourg or his brothers, many consider this harvest scene and its spectacular Château to be one of the most beautiful in the calendar.

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