Winter pastimes and symbolism for New Year’s Eve

Winter pastimes and symbolism for New Year’s Eve

“A New Year’s Gift” from the Newberry Consort #NCGreatPerformances

This New Year’s gift of music by Holborne, Kapsberger, and Loesser is accompanied by two seasonal tapestries designed by the Master of the Months of Lucas around 1535.

Winter (from the “Seasons of Lucas” Series) is crowded with all manner of people enjoying winter pastimes or doing winter work. Images of children playing and just about anyone ice skating are pretty irresistible. Look for the host of winds blowing in every direction from the clouds above.

As an aside: The hogs feeding in the far distance (on the right) are an emblem of winter. Depictions of the monthly labors of November through January often feature the feeding and/or butchering of hogs. For my purposes, that rules out quite a few books of hours that I would otherwise love to use.

January (from the “Months of Lucas”) was designed ca. 1535 but woven in the 1730s. The central figure is a Janus-faced figure holding an ouroboros–cleaving the old and the new. Don’t miss the sign of Aquarius in the frame at the bottom.

The tapestries are held at the Detroit Institute of Arts and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, respectively. Their online incarnations make for excellent COVID-ready entertainment.


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