Innovatively Designed, with Five Extremely Eventful Scenes

TEXT FROM HOURS OF THE HOLY SPIRIT.

(Paris, ca. 1480). 174 x 123 mm. (7 x 4 3/4"). Single column, 19 lines on verso (five on recto), in a gothic book hand.

Rubrics in pink, line fillers of blue and red, five one-line initials and one two-line initial painted in gold on either a red or blue ground, one three-line initial in blue on a red ground with gold embellishments, verso with a primarily blue and gold border of acanthus leaves and flowers with long stems, and a HALF PAGE MINIATURE OF PENTECOST SURROUNDED BY FOUR INSET MINIATURES. Some negligible soiling in the margins, occasional trivial chipping to the paint in the inset miniatures (mostly in the lower section), but on the whole in fine condition, the vibrancy of the colors and crispness of the images intact and still very pleasing.

This leaf presents Pentecost, the usual image to begin the Hours of the Holy Spirit, in a highly creative way. The main scene of the Holy Spirit descending on the Virgin and assembled Apostles is conventional: the Virgin is at the center, with Peter and John the Evangelist flanking her on either side, and the other Apostles behind them. But the rest of the leaf has an unusual design. In place of a floral border with acanthus and bezants, we have four additional scenes that portray various episodes of the Resurrection, which, according to Christian tradition, occurred exactly 50 days before Pentecost. In the largest of those scenes, the artist has used the "L"-shaped space next to the left edge and bottom left of the main miniature in an inventive way, showing Christ rising into the air in the long vertical element of the "L," while employing the horizontal part of the letter space at bottom to depict his amazed followers, as they witness the event from the ground below. The other three scenes making up the rest of the very eventful frame show the Road to Emmaus (where Christ reveals himself to two of his disciples), then "Noli me tangere" (a favorite image of Western art, where Christ appears to Mary Magdalene and speaks the words "Do not touch me"), and finally the Incredulity of Thomas (where Christ invites the "doubting" Apostle Thomas to touch his wounds).
(ST12838)

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PJP Catalog: 70.463

TEXT FROM HOURS OF THE HOLY SPIRIT. WITH FOUR INSET MINIATURES DEPICTING VARIOUS ASPECTS OF THE RESURRECTION OF CHRIST AN ILLUMINATED VELLUM MANUSCRIPT LEAF SHOWING PENTECOST, FROM A. BOOK OF HOURS IN LATIN.