The series of the
twelve "Months" is the most illustrious cycle of tapestries in the
Museum. Each tapestry, woven in wool and silk, is dedicated to a month of the
year, for which it shows the human labours typical of the month, the fruits,
the vegetation and the weather. In each representation there is a didactic text
describing the characteristics of that month and of the relative zodiac sign,
placed in the upper right corner of each tapestry.

This tapestry cycle was made at the beginning of the sixteenth century,
commissioned by Gian Giacomo Trivulzio known as Il Magno (Milan, ca. 1440 -
Chartres, 1518) - Marshal of France and Marquis of Vigevano - in a factory set
up in Vigevano and directed by the tapestry maker Benedetto da Milano. The
preparatory cartoons are attributed to Bartolomeo Suardi known as Bramantino
and, from an iconographic point of view, refer to a late mediaeval conception
of the illustrated calendar, updated with the inclusion of classical and
Renaissance elements.

The tapestries remained the property of the Trivulzio family until they were
purchased by the Civic Collections in 1935.

The coherence of the twelve scenes and the recurring iconographic elements (the
decorated border, the coat-of-arms of Gian Giacomo Trivulzio, the Sun, the
zodiacal signs) confirm the unitary origin of the series, which derives from
the invention of a single artist. The Trivulzio series of Months was also
designed to be displayed in a single room, as if to form a continuous frieze,
in counter-clockwise order. The direction is indicated by the gesture with
which the figures at the centre of each tapestry point to the Sun in the upper
left corner.

Today the group of tapestries is exhibited in the Sala della Balla of the
Museum, displayed in such a way that they can be read together and

The border consists of a continuous frieze of hexagons and in the corners and
at the centre of each side is the shield of Gian Giacomo Trivulzio with its
green and gold vertical bands. The representation of agricultural work was
important to Trivulzio, both for his personal interest in agriculture, but also
to affirm a celebratory symbolism inspired by the Latin classics. Exalting
rural practices underlined his commitment to peace, as opposed to the
abandonment of the fields, synonymous of war. The tapestries thus appear as a
political celebration of Trivulzio, bearer and protector of peace in Lombardy
so that country folk might devote themselves to the work of the fields, to
feast days and ceremonies.

In the tapestry dedicated to the month of July, the zodiac sign of Leo
appears in the upper right corner. The caption of the month is engraved on a
gilded cube: "July on the
resounding threshing floors beats the harvest with strength very pleasing to
the peasants, winnows it, sets it aside and fills the granaries"

In the centre, a young man wearing a lightweight white tunic holds a
cornucopia full of wheat, with more wheat ears stuck in his fair hair, and
indicates the Sun with his right hand,. The cornucopia symbolises
the abundance of the harvest and the young man, an allegorical figure, is
probably a personification of Summer, with its traditional attribute of wheat

This tapestry illustrates the threshing of wheat in the courtyard of a
Lombard farmstead with corner towers, with the peasants in two parallel lines
threshing the ears. The farmyard is
surrounded by low rustic buildings with porticoes, covered by sloping roofs


  • Title: July
  • Creator: Manifattura di Vigevano. Arazziere Benedetto da Milano, da cartoni di Bartolomeo Suardi detto il Bramantino.
  • Date Created: 1504 circa - 1509
  • Location: Milano, Castello Sforzesco, Museo delle Arti Decorative
  • Location Created: Vigevano
  • Physical Dimensions: 462 x 477 cm
  • Type: Arazzo
  • Rights: Comune di Milano - Civiche Raccolte Artistiche, Castello Sforzesco, Milano
  • External Link: https://artidecorative.milanocastello.it/
  • Medium: Lana e seta
  • Art Movement: Rinascimento
  • Art Form: Arazzo
  • Original title: Luglio

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