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Working in a Vineyard; Zodiacal Sign of Pisces
Workshop of the Master of James IV of Scotland (Flemish, before 1465 - about 1541)
about 1510 - 1520
Tempera colors, gold, and ink on parchment
Leaf: 23.2 x 16.7 cm (9 1/8 x 6 9/16 in.)
Most books of hours open with a calendar of the succession of church holidays, listing saints' days and other feast days in black and singling out the most important in red. The Spinola Hours' calendar pages are particularly lavish, combining a frieze in monochrome, scenes in roundels, a landscape featuring an activity associated with the month, called the Labor of the Month, at the bottom, and a zodiacal sign.
The calendar is the only part of a book of hours decorated primarily with secular scenes. On the bottom of this page, for the month of February, a peasant carries a bundle of sticks in an expansive landscape while others plow the vineyard, all bundled up to ward off the winter cold. In the frieze at the top, children play various games. The roundels on the right accompany the most important feasts (listed in red in the calendar): the uppermost scene depicts the Presentation in the Temple; below, clerics crown Peter as pope to illustrate the feast of Saint Peter's Chair; next is a portrait of Matthew the Apostle. Within the arched frame on the bottom, two fish represent the zodiacal sign Pisces; the title is painted as if engraved on the frame.