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The Medieval Calendar Year

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The Medieval Calendar Year celebrates the pictorial convention known as "The Labors of the Months" and the ways in which it was used in the Middle Ages. The traditional cycle depicts the year as a round of seasonal activities on the land. Each month has its allotted task, and each of these represents one stage in the never-ending process of providing food for society. The small scenes that made up the cycle were well known and used widely throughout Europe. They were sculpted in stone, carved in wood, painted on ...
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Overview

The Medieval Calendar Year celebrates the pictorial convention known as "The Labors of the Months" and the ways in which it was used in the Middle Ages. The traditional cycle depicts the year as a round of seasonal activities on the land. Each month has its allotted task, and each of these represents one stage in the never-ending process of providing food for society. The small scenes that made up the cycle were well known and used widely throughout Europe. They were sculpted in stone, carved in wood, painted on glass and on manuscript pages. Richly illustrated with more than 100 images, The Medieval Calendar Year is a book worthy of the beautiful and beguiling tradition it describes. Bridget I lenisch's accompanying analysis will help readers appreciate the social reality that lies hidden, even masked, behind the sumptuous imagery. This book is for all who are interested in the history and culture of medieval Europe.
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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Calendars with appealing scenes or pictures are not an invention of Hallmark. Medieval calendar art routinely depicted seasonal themes, motifs, and the Zodiac. Henisch, the author of several books on photography and two books on medieval life, provides a study of the medieval themes of seasons and peasant lifestyle portrayed in the medieval calendars. Contemporary writings provide some insights into the medieval fascination for gardening and agriculture, as well as themes of leisure activities and feasting. The pastoral scenes and idyllic lifestyle of the poor peasants were hardly true to fact, however, as Henisch points out in his conversational but well-researched texts. The appendix of medieval calendar formats would have been more appropriate as an introduction. Recommended for larger collections. (Illustrations not seen.)--Karen Ellis, Baldwin Boettcher Lib., Humble, TX Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
Booknews
Henisch, an independent scholar, focuses on High Middle Ages renditions of the "Labors of the Months," a pictorial calendar convention that depicted the traditional cycle of the year revolving around seasonal activities on the land. She examines how artists chose to depict the cycle and the ways in which the conventions and assumptions of art styled the reality of agricultural drudgery into far prettier images. Fine color and b&w illustrations from manuscripts, particularly the Book of Hours. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
From the Publisher
“The pictorial calendar reflecting the “Labors of the Month” was a highly popular genre throughout the Middle Ages, but especially during the late Middle Ages. In her delightful and well researched study, Bridget Ann Henisch provides an extensive and very detailed examination of the art historical material contained in the pictorial calendar.

She writes, as it seems, both for the scholar and the general reader, and succeeds in striking a beautiful balance. Her choice of words is just delightful and exemplary, which does not diminish the scholarly quality of this study. The visual quality of the figures and plates is excellent, adding considerable aesthetic value to an insightful investigation of an important art-historical topic.”
—Dr. Albrecht Classen, Mediaevistik

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780271019031
  • Publisher: Penn State University Press
  • Publication date: 11/28/1999
  • Format: Library Binding
  • Pages: 248
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.56 (d)

Meet the Author

Bridget Ann Henisch is the author of Fast and Feast: Food in Medieval Society (1976) and the co-author, with Heinz K. Henisch, of Positive Pleasures: Early Photography and Humor (1998), The Painted Photograph, 1839–1914: Origins, Techniques, Aspirations (1996), The Photographic Experience, 1839–1914: Images and Attitudes (1994), all from Penn State.

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Table of Contents

Preface and Acknowledgments
1 In Due Season 1
2 Winter; By the Fireside 29
3 Spring; The Private Garden 51
4 Summer; Sheep and Shepherds 85
5 Autumn; The Harvest 107
6 The Calendar Child 135
7 A Woman for All Seasons 167
8 Pain into Pleasure 197
App The Calendar Page Decoded 215
Selected Bibliography 223
Index 227
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