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Medieval & Renaissance Manuscripts

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Book of Hours
France, possibly Angers, ca. 1470
MS M.263 fol. 27r

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Miniature: Christ: Crucifixion -- Christ, rays as cross nimbus, with crown of thorns, head inclined, eyes closed, wearing short loincloth, is affixed with three nails to tau cross. He is flanked by two tau crosses on which are two thieves, both with arms over cross-bars, thief at right, head down, body curled up. At left is group of soldiers wearing helmets and armor, four holding halberds; Stephaton, wearing helmet and armor raising sponge on reed to Christ; and in foreground, two Holy Women, one wearing headdress, the other veiled, behind Virgin Mary, veiled, swooning, next to Evangelist John. Skull is at foot of cross. At right, Longinus of Jerusalem (?) astride horse, indicates Christ with left hand; behind him six of group of soldiers hold spears, one bannered; one is astride horse. Buildings are in background. Margins: 1) In upper margin, left, group of soldiers, foremost holding spear; man wearing hat binding or unbinding hands of Dysmas or Gestas; man pulling garment over head of other thief; three men wearing hats, two holding swords, and soldier holding spear and shield at right. 2) In left margin, thieves carrying tau crosses, or preparation of tau crosses. 3) In right margin, man climbs ladder leaning against tau cross, behind Gestas (?) , hands behind him, mounting ladder facing outward. At right, man gestures toward second ladder leaning against another tau cross, looking toward Dysmas (?), back-turned, hands bound behind him. Soldiers stand at left. 4) In lower margin, group of men, some wearing hats, one wearing headgear, another with purse at waist, look on as three men raise hammers, nailing Christ to tau cross on ground. Skull and bones on ground. At right, five soldiers, four holding halberds, stand behind Evangelist John, extending right hand to Virgin Mary, veiled, hands crossed on breast, and Holy Woman wearing headdress, all seated or kneeling on ground. Line ending decorated with scroll.

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