This exhibition was on view at the National Gallery of Art through January 31, 1999.
This exhibition is organized around the set of seven illustrations from The Housebook depicting "the planets and their children," with one or two of these images setting the theme for each room. These illustrations and their accompanying verses reflect the medieval belief that the seven planets had a formative influence over the character, talents, and physical traits of those born under their ascendancy, their "children," and that each of the planets could be associated with many specific types of activity, just as popular astrology today attributes certain powers to the zodiacal sign under which one is born. The images of the occupations of the planets' children constitute a panorama of secular life in the late Middle Ages.
For the exhibition at the National Gallery the framed leaves of The Housebook have been augmented with related works of art. These include many of the master's rare drypoint prints, as well as prints, drawings, and illustrated books by other late fifteenth-century artists. A selection of three-dimensional works that correspond to imagery in The Housebook -- including armor, bronze and ivory decorative arts, and a rare early clock -- completes this lively display of secular life in the late Middle Ages.
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