This happy dog is about to enjoy some slices of ham. This image comes from one of the pages of an early 16th century French book of Christmas carols.
One of the interesting things about this image is the relationship of the man and the dog. The man is shoeless, and yet he carries a beautiful ham, from which he feeds the dog. Does this man love the dog in the way contemporary pet owners love their animals and tend to spoil them with food? That has to be one expensive piece of meat.
Yes, meat was precious. The typical Florentine ate meat once a week with the Saturday meal. Workmen to labored on Brunelleschi’s dumo made a sport of catching the pigeons that nested on the ledges of the incomplete basilica.
The above image is from the rare book department of the Free Library of Philadelphia.