Time – and the Calendar – in Art & Life (Limbourgh Bros’ Book of Hours)

Cher’s Famous Art

01 September 2020

”Book of Hours of the Duke of Berry…”

Limbourgh brothers, 1413-1416. Gothic, France

October” “August

Travel Tip: Medieval Louvre

Travel Tip: Bookstore Finds

Week 26: Half a Year of COVID

Week 26 of my Famous Art postings during the COVID-19 pandemic marks significant time, half of a 52 week calendar year. 

We have been officially in this COVID World for a half year. Typical of “time,” it seems as if it has lasted forever–and yet just yesterday when we embarked on this seemingly never-ending journey.

Time & Calendars

To represent calendars and “TIME,” I thought it appropriate to share the most famous calendar from Medieval Europe. A Book of Hours was a popular type of devotional prayer book, which included a text for each liturgical hour of the day, plus calendar, as well as prayers, psalms and masses for specific holy days.  This one was created by three Limbourgh brothers for their extravagant, royal patron, the Duke of Berry. This lavish manuscript consists of 206 leaves of fine quality parchment, using rare and costly pigments and gold; it is only 12” x 8.5” and includes miniatures, calligraphy, initials and marginal decorations.  Vivid representations of peasants doing agricultural work, aristocrats in formal attire, against a background of remarkable medieval architecture are the most common reproductions. Included also is the astrological signs appropriate for each of the 12 months.


October is the most common seen in art books—peasants are shown tilling the soil and sowing seeds against the backdrop of the Louvre, the Paris royal palace and fortress (1202-1630). After many architectural revisions by various French kings over the centuries, it eventually became the famous Louvre Museum open to the public in 1793. The turrets seen here have been incorporated into a display room at the museum for visitors to see today. http://www.louvre.fr/en

TRAVELER TIP: Be sure to check out the medieval section of the Louvre when you visit as it is a bit out of the way–and cannot fully be appreciated if one does not know the extensive history of the building dating back to Medieval times. We discovered it because it is typically used for group entrances, not individual tickets.


I selected August because it is intriguing with peasants harvesting and swimming in the background while noblemen are hawking with falcons in the front. Behind everything is the Chateau di’Etampes.. Gotta love those swimmers!

TRAVEL TIP: Great Bookstore find! Finding postcards of all 12 of the months was a highlight of my Louvre museum shopping expedition!  I selected two to share. http://www.louvre.fr/en If you are interested in seeing the Book of Hours in person, it is now in the collection of the Museum Conde, Chantilly, France. **Note: it is always recommended to check ahead of time if a work of art is on display when you plan to visit. There is nothing more disappointing than to plan a trip to a museum to see a particular work of art – either across the USA or the world – and get there only to discover that it is not on display during your visit.

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