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Medieval & Renaissance Manuscripts

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Italy, Naples, last quarter of 14th century
MS M.498 fol. 4v

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Bridget of Sweden: Scene, at Alvastra Monastery receiving Inspiration from Heaven -- In clouds of Heaven are groups of nimbed angels, some holding objects, including staff with cross-inscribed banner, scourge (instruments of Passion), scrolls, scepter, and globe, flanking fourteen nimbed cherubim, supporting mandorla enclosing Virgin Mary, nimbed, veiled, and Christ, cross-nimbed, both emanating rays and seated on arc, with rays extending downward from their hands.
Below, in middle register of Heaven, are twelve nimbed apostles, seated on thrones flanking Abraham, representing Paradise, with personifications of souls in his draped hands, David as musician, playing instrument, and John Baptist, right hand raised toward the mandorla and scroll in left hand, all three nimbed and kneeling. Below, in lowest register of Heaven, are two groups of nimbed Elect, including veiled woman and tonsured deacon holding palm, all standing amid clouds above row of stars.
Below row of stars at left, flames descend on small nude figure holding scroll, rising from host in raised hands of tonsured priest, celebrating mass beside draped altar, on which are candle in candlestick, cross, and chalice. Behind the priest kneels acolyte holding lighted candle. At center is bust of nimbed angel, with hands extended, above pilgrim's staff and hat. At right, the rays originating from the hands of the Virgin Mary and Christ descend to head of Bridget, wearing nun's habit, with rays as nimbus, raising right hand raised and with left hand on open book, seated beside desk on which are objects.
Frontispiece to Book I.

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