Medieval Art: June in Les Tres Riches Heures

The onset of June has been cause for celebration for millennia. But with the start of summer comes the start of the season of harvest. Hay must be cut and put up for the animals before the rain comes to spoil it. (Make hay while the sun shines!)

That is exactly what the peasants are doing on the page for June in Les Tres Riches Heures. Three men are shown mowing the grass with scythes. In the foreground, a pair of women are raking and stacking it in heaps. The river Seine divides the hayfield from the Ile de la Cite, where the Palais looms and the trees in an enclosed garden can be glimpsed. A small boat floats in front of the water gate. Also identifiable are a pavilion, the towers of the Conciergerie, the Tour de l’Horloge, and the Sainte-Chapelle.

The zodiac signs for , Gemini and Cancer, are represented in the tympanum, where, as always, Helios drives the sun chariot across the sky.


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