An Impressive Calendar Dial dates from 1500
No one knows who created this piece and the exact date of its creation is also lost in time. It hangs in M Leuven without the signature of its artist and without the date of its origin.
Some details, however, such as the costumes of the depicted figures give clues that puts the painting in the late fifteenth century period.
The painting consists of many detailed and colourful scenes placed in the form of a dial. As impressive as it stands, it originally served as functional artefact rather than a decorative one. It was the dial of a clock with an integrated calendar and astrological elements. The mechanism itself is lost, but fortunately the dozens of painted tableaux on the oak panel are very well preserved.
The Calendar Dial has a series of concentric circles and each have a purpose. They range from a circle depicting the days or months of the year to one that tells you which planet determines your life, behaviour or profession. If you were born under the influence of Saturn, for example, you were doomed to go through life as a beggar or a cripple.
The Calendar Dial dates from 1500. In those days, time was conceived as a cycle that constantly repeated itself. Astrology was also very popular and people assumed that the planets influenced every aspect of their lives. This calendar dial thus provides a wealth of information about the medieval thinking with one essential characteristic which was the seamless unity of human beings, time, nature, and the universe.
The importance of astrology later waned and it was reduced to mere superstition. Starting in the 18th century, the cyclical notion of time was also gradually replaced by a linear perspective. This caused a cultural revolution, leading people to discover and appreciate their history and the importance of their own heritage.
(Source: https://www.mleuven.be/en/calendar-dial#,) photo; Aslı Tezcan