Medieval Art: August in Les Tres Riches Heures

The entry for August depicts another activity in court life and in the late summer labors of the peasants. In the background is the Chateau d’Etampes, with its towers, chapel, and tile covered buildings. The four sided 12th century dungeon, Tour Guinette, with its corner towers, arises in the middle.

At mid-ground, workers are binding up the new mown wheat, and loading the sheaves onto a cart. Four swimmers, or perhaps bathers, can be seen in the river, complete with visually correct distortions of their limbs below the waterline. High on the hill is a haystack.

In the foreground, the nobles pass by in a hunting party.  Leading on foot, a falconer with two birds on his left wrist drags a pole behind him, accompanied by a pair of dogs. Following him are a rider with a blue cloak, and behind him, riding pillion, a lady in a dark dress. The rider is in the act of releasing his falcon. Next come a single rider, richly dressed in blue and red, and couple deeply engaged in conversation with one another as their horse trots along. Two more falcons can be spotted in this group.

Leo and Virgo occupy the heavens in the tympanum, above the ever present sun chariot.

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