Tuesday, March 13, 2007


The Limbourgs present here the year's first farm work, in a broad landscape at the foot of the Chateau de Lusignan.

Several scenes of country life are juxtaposed.

On the upper left, a shepherd and his dog watch a flock of sheep; below them, three peasants trim vines within an enclosure; on the right, another enclosure, with a house, seems to surround more vineyards; below that, a peasant leans over an open bag.

A small monument known as a Montjoie rises at the intersection of paths separating the different plots; a customary sign or milestone, it resembles one on a subsequent page representing the Meeting of the Magi (folio 51v).A beautiful picture of plowing occupies the foreground. A white-bearded peasant wearing a surcoat over a blue tunic holds the plow handle with his left hand and goads the oxen with his right. The two oxen are differently colored; the fine reddish hide of the near one stands out in relief against the other, black, animal. Every detail of the plow is carefully recorded. The plowshare penetrates earth covered with faded winter grass, churning it into furrows that are distinctly marked by already dried blades of grass.

These rustic scenes are dominated by the powerful Château de Lusignan, above which hovers the fairy Mélusine, protectress of the château who turned into a winged dragon on Saturdays, recalling the legend of its construction. (Mélusine promised to make Raimondin, son of the king of the Bretons, the first nobleman of the realm if he married her, on condition that he never see her on Saturday, the day of her metamorphosis. Raimondin's curiosity got the better of him, and Mélusine flew away from the château in the form of a winged dragon. The artists have meticulously depicted the château's different parts: the Tour Poitevine below the fairy, the queen's quarters, the Tour Mélusine, the Tour de L'Horloge, the Barbacane, and the two enceintes. This was one of the Duc de Berry's favorite residences; the improvements he made on it are evident in the high windows of the royal quarters and the Tour Mélusine.

The month of March is the first of the great landscapes favored hy the Limbourgs in the Très Riches Heures. It is rendered with such veracity that one wonders if they had access to some optical device, a dark room, or rather a "light room," which would have lent such linear and proportional exactitude to their work. Furthermore, with the delicacy of their brush they have achieved an extraordinary precision of detail without detracting from the overall effect of grandeur imparted by Mélusine's château forcefully standing out against the blue sky.

Bill's commentary....there are many stories of serpents, women changing into serpents and dragons. Here are some wonderful ones....http://regorm.free.fr/expo/expo.html

(cut and paste from http://www.answers.com/topic/ch-teau-de-lusignan) After the duc de Berri's death, Lusignan became briefly the property of Jean de Touraine (died May 1417) and then passed to the dauphin Charles, the future Charles VII.
First the village, then the town of Lusignan, grew up beneath the castle gates, along the slope; it formed a further enceinte (surrounding fortification) when it too was later enclosed by walls. Lusignan remained a strategically important place in Poitou, in the heart of France: during the French Wars of Religion, about 1574, a plan was made of the castle's defenses; it is in the Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris. In the following century Lusignan was reinforced in the modern manner by Louis XIV's military architect, Vauban. Thus it was a natural structure to be used as a prison. Later it housed a school.

The château was long used as a local quarry of pre-cut stone before it was razed by the comte de Blossac in the 19th century, to make a pleasure ground for the town of Lusignan. What remains today are largely parts of the foundations, some built into steep hillside, part of the keep, the base of the Tour Poitevine, cisterns and cellars, and remains of a subterranean passage that probably once led to the church.

and not to be outdone,

Category: Archeological sitehttp://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&sl=fr&u=http://www.patrimoine-de-france.org/oeuvres/richesses-85-25158-166311-M197539-399646.html&sa=X&oi=translate&resnum=9&ct=result&prev=/search%3Fq%3DChateau%2Bde%2BLusignan%26start%3D10%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DN

, castletime of construction: Average Agehistory: Construction of a first castellum in the middle of the 10th century. A castle is announced at the beginning of the 11th century. With 12th and 13th centuries, apogee of the family of Lusignan. In 1308, the castle passes in the royal field. At the end of the 14th century, work completed by Jean de Berry, work which continues until 1463, date of the construction of the Michaelmas vault. The castle is dismantled by order of the king in 1586; only the Mélusine tower remains until 1622. The walk was established on the site of the castle at the 18th century.property of the communedate protection MH: 1997/07/02: registered voter

(And Bills' words...) The history of the Lusignan family is fascinating. http://www.mlahanas.de/Cyprus/History/Lusignan.html

They were rulers of Cyprus, and ruled Jerusalem. You might remember the Lusignan prince in a recent movie about the great siege of Jerusalem. They got around! The symbol of the Lusignan family is the mermaid, somehow confused with the water sprites and dragons of folklore. It is a real pity there is pretty much nothing left of it nowadays.

1 comment:

Zlanth said...

Always love the historical posts Stag, good stuff!

Actually, I'll have to go through some of them again. I'm thinking of going through Europe this year, and I wouldn't want to miss anything! :D