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Medieval & Renaissance Manuscripts

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Vita S. Benedicti
Italy, perhaps in Padua, ca. 1450
MS M.184 fol. 9r

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Miniature, left compartment: 1) Benedict of Montecassino: Scene, Poisoned Cup -- Among eight cowled monks, one eats food and some are in conversation with each other, all flank Benedict of Montecassino, nimbed, wearing hooded monk’s habit, raising right hand in blessing, before draped trestle table laden with dishes, cups and food (banquet scene). In foreground, bearded male servant, wearing belted garment, partly kneels, with right hand extending poisoned cup toward the Benedict. Scene in monastery refectory with six arched windows, wooden ceiling and mural of Crucifixion behind the Benedict. Christ: Crucifixion, One Cross -- Christ, nimbed, wearing short loin cloth, is affixed by three nails to tau-cross on mound (mural painting). Miniature, right compartment: 2) Benedict of Montecassino: Scene, leaving Monastery -- At portal of building, the foremost of seven cowled monks, looks away from Benedict of Montecassino, nimbed, wearing hooded monk’s habit, looking over his shoulder, raising right hand and holding staff in left hand, departing to right in landscape with trees, one tree bearing fruit. Miniature within frame for middle of Chapter 3 of Book II of Dialogues; The monks plot to poison Benedict of Montecassino by having a servant offer him a poisoned drink, although the glass breaks during his blessing. Benedict subsequently leaves the monastery.

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