Jean Bourdichon, 'June'

Jean Bourdichon, 'June'

Jean Bourdichon (1457-1521)
'June'
Illumination from a book of hours
France
1498/9
Lewis Collection, Rare Books Department, Free Library of Philadelphia

Seasonal agricultural activities were traditional indicators of the character of each month. In June, a peasant carries a scythe for haymaking. Against the heat, he is lightly dressed, with a broad-brimmed hat and a cask of water. At the top, the name of the month is decorated with flourishes, and the feast days are written in alternating yellow and blue. The major feast of Saint Barnabus is in red (now discoloured brown): a so-called 'red letter day'. The astrological sign of Cancer appears above.