LIMBOURG brothers
(b. 1370-80, Nijmegen, d. 1416, Nijmegen)

Les très riches heures du Duc de Berry: Fevrier (February)

Manuscript (Ms. 65), 294 x 210 mm
Musée Condé, Chantilly


The scene illustrating the month of February depicts winter in a peasant village with the snow-covered land lying beneath a leaden sky. Life is in the grips of cold. Outside, wood is being cut and hauled away; inside, women and a man warm themselves at an open fire. All three unashamedly lift their garments, the couple in the back so far as to reveal their genitals. In the background daily life - cutting wood, taking cattle to the market - goes on as normal.

Regarding the landscape, the eye roams from detail to detail, from the smoke rising from the house into an iron-gray sky to the frosty breath of the man in the courtyard, from the random patches of snow on the haystack to the sheep huddled in the fold. Birds peck at grain just scattered by a peasant, whose footprints are still visible in the snow.