Great Hours of Anne of Brittany

Great Hours of Anne of Brittany The Calendar: June, f. 9

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The Calendar: June, f. 9

The spectacular calendar in the Great Hours of Anne of Brittany is a highly innovative creation. Master Bourdichon also painted full-page miniatures to depict the activities of the twelve months of the year, with a text box above each listing the feasts in each month. It must be remembered that Jean Bourdichon was first and foremost a painter, a painter who was commissioned to produce paintings in addition to illuminating manuscripts. This method was apparently not used in French books of hours dated prior to Bourdichon, except in two codices.
The month of June shows peasants reaping hay with enormous scythes to be stored as fodder for their livestock during the winter. Hay reaping is the first of the summer tasks. This theme of classical origin featured as early as in the Arch of Mars in Reims and reappeared in the High Middle Ages as can be seen in the Wandalbert Martyrology.
Bourdichon depicts the month’s sign of the zodiac – Cancer the crab for June – above the text box.

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