17 April 2010

Going-a-Maying: Guinevere and Maia

So it befell in the month of May, Queen Guenever called unto her knights of the Table Round; and she gave them warning that early upon the morrow she would ride a-Maying into woods and fields beside Westminster. Sir Thomas Malory - Le Morte d'Arthur
Now that April showers are coming to an end we can soon expect May flowers. The month of May is named for the Roman goddess of Spring Maia Majesta. She is shown with Vulcan, her sometime companion, in Flemish artist Bartholomeus Spranger’s Mannerist painting (1590). In the Très Riches Heures du Duc de Berry, a book of hours commissioned in 1410, the month of May depicts a group of nobles riding in procession through the woods and fields near Paris. It is very similar to the scene that the English writer Malory describes in his mid fifteenth century compilation of Arthurian romances. English artist Aubrey Beardsley illustrated the book in black and white during the late nineteenth century.

2 comments:

  1. I love the pairing of these images and always de Berry Book of hours. pgt

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thank you, I always find the de Berry images magical.

    ReplyDelete

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