The Battle of Carnival and Lent has subject matter that can be found in MedievalLiterature and plays.This painting depicts a common festival of the period, as celebrated in the SouthernNetherlands. It presents the contrast between two sides of contemporary life, as canbe seen by the appearance of the inn on the left side - for enjoyment, and the churchon the right side - for religious observance. The busy scene depicts well-behavedchildren near the church and a beer drinking scene near the inn. Other scenes show awell in the centre (the coming together of different parts of the community), a fish stalland two competing floats.A battle enacted between the figures Carnival and Lent was an important event incommunity life in early modern Europe, representing the transition between twodifferent seasonal cuisines: livestock that was not to be wintered was slaughtered, andmeat was in good supply. As the period of Lent commenced, with its enforcedabstinence and the concomitant spiritual purification in preparation for Easter, thebutcher shops closed and the butchers travelled into the countryside to purchase cattlefor the spring.In this painting the figure of Carnival is a large man riding a wine barrel, wearing a hugepie as a head-dress; he is wielding a long spit, complete with a pig’s head, as a weapon(for jousting) for the fight with Lent.
In the foreground, two opposing processions, the one to the left led by the repletefigure of Carnival and the one to the right by the haggard figure of Lent, are about toconfront each other in a burlesque parody of a joust. Here, on either side of thepicture, are feasting and fasting, winter and spring (the trees to the left areleafless, those to the right have leaves), popular jollity and well-ordered charity, the ill-famed tavern and the church as the refuge of the pious soul. Whilst the fathers workwas not lacking in humour, the sons emphasises the encyclopaedic aspect: the manyscenes accompanying the "battle" are all ceremonies or customs attached to the ritesof carnival and lent, which succeed each other from Epiphany until Easter.The Web Gallery
The Luttrell Psalter is an illuminated manuscript written by monks in Medieval Times.One of Englands greatest art treasures is the Luttrell Psalter. Sir Geoffrey Luttrell was awealthy Lincolnshire landowner who commissioned the Luttrell Psalter around 1320.Its an illuminated manuscript considered to have taken approximately ten years tocomplete. A Psalter (the "p" is silent) takes its name from the psalms (songs) andmeditations contained within its pages. In the wide margins around the edge of the tidycalligraphy are delicate decorations, not too unlike what we would call "doodles"today, though infinitely more complex and beautiful. The artist/calligrapher of the LuttrellPsalter is, of course, totally unknown.Of course its not the Latin Psalms that interest us today, but the decorating extrania. TheLuttrell Psalter is considered by art and literary experts to be the best surviving pictorialdocumentation of everyday life in England during the Middle Ages.
Ploughing, sowing, and harrowing from the Luttrell Psalter.
Reaping, carrying, and carting in the Luttrell Psalter.
In Pairs:• How do these pictures show how hard life was for the peasant farmers in medieval times?• For what purpose are these pictures intended for? ie, to show off to other Lords, or to record farming at the time?• How reliably do they show life in Medieval times?• Once you have finished looking at the pictures, state what you think they say about the Lord of the Manor?