The garden of Eden (details and full plate), Les Très Riches Heures du duc de Berry, 1410. The Musée Condé, Chantilly.
Les Très Riches Heures (The very rich hours of the Duke of Berry) is a book of hours commissioned by Jean France Duc de Berry around 1410. Over a century in the making, the book has more than 400 pages and features 131 large scale illustrations. It is possibly the single most valuable book in the world and is considered the most important illuminated manuscript of the 15th Century, earning the distinction "le roi des manuscrits enluminés" (the king of illuminated manuscripts). Artists associated with the creation of this manuscript include the Limbourg brothers, Barthélemy van Eyck, and Jean Colombe.
There are many striking features in this plate that explain the manuscript's worth, including the preservation of the brilliantly rendered colors along with the meticulous detail of the Genesis narrative. Interestingly, Eve and Serpent, temptor and tempted, are mirror images. This was a typical representation found in early iconography, reflecting the prevailing cultural belief that the "fall" and all human sin originated with women.