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Medieval & Renaissance Manuscripts

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Piccolomini breviary
Italy, Lombardy, ca. 1475
MS M.799 fol. 7v

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Within miniature, top to bottom:
1) God, nimbed, hands extended, seated, amid red, winged heads of angels, all within mandorla of rays surrounded by two rows of winged heads. All flanked by two groups of angels, nimbed, three playing musical instruments including harp, portative organ, and lute.
2) Creation Scene: 1st Day -- God, nimbed, seated in mandorla of rays, extending hands toward personification of sun. Dark blue sky in background decorated with stars, and with Zodiac signs including Leo (?), Pisces, Scorpio, and Libra (scales).
3) Creation Scene: 5th Day -- Below left, birds, including heron, owl, goose or duck, crow, and hawk among others, look toward God, raising right hand in blessing before them.
4) Creation Scene: 6th Day -- Animals, including unicorn, elephant, ox (?), bear, sheep, monkeys, dog, rabbit, hedgehog, and ferret (?) before God, raising right hand in blessing.
5) Creation Scene: 3rd Day -- At right, God, arms raised, standing amid flowers, bushes and trees.
6) Creation Scene: 5th Day -- God, nimbed, extending right hand in blessing over water in which are five fish, three with mouths open showing teeth looking up toward Him; on bank are frog and crab.
7) Eve: Creation -- In foreground, God, nimbed, right hand grasping right hand of Eve, emerging from left side of Adam, reclining on ground, head supported by right hand. Barren tree behind them.
Vignettes in lower margin:
1) Adam and Eve: Fall of Man -- At left, Adam and Eve, genitals covered by small trees at their feet, flanking larger tree around which is entwined serpent with head of woman (Lilith).
2) Adam and Eve: Expulsion -- Red angel holding rod or staff with right hand, extending left hand toward Eve (?), looking back over right shoulder, wearing loin cloth. Adam, wearing loin cloth, carrying object over left shoulder, walking next to Eve.
3) Adam and Eve: at Labor -- Eve, nude, holding spindle (?) with right hand and distaff with left hand, seated, two nude infants at her right leg. At right, Adam possibly nude, holding ax with both hands.
Vignettes within frame, separated by columns.
Three margins decorated with camaieu foliate ornament surrounding medallions enclosing: busts of four Augustinian monks, all nimbed and tonsured, one with joined hands, one holding book, one holding book with draped hands, and one raising right hand, supporting book with left arm.
Medallions also enclosing Personifications of seven virtues including: in upper left margin, woman, possibly nimbed, seated, grasping column with right hand, indicating upward with left hand (Fortitude); in upper margin, woman, nimbed, seated, holding up-turned sword with right hand and globe with left hand (Justice); in upper right margin, woman, seated, raising object with right hand, holding flask with left hand Temperance; in center left margin, woman, nimbed, with each arm around infant, one swaddled, one nude holding right hand to mouth (Charity); in center right margin, woman seated, holding object with right hand, raising mirror with left hand (Prudence); at bottom of left margin, woman holding chalice with right hand and cross-staff with left hand (Faith); and at bottom of right margin woman, nimbed, looking upward with joined hands raised (Hope).

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