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Medieval & Renaissance Manuscripts

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Vita S. Benedicti
Italy, perhaps in Padua, ca. 1450
MS M.184 fol. 15r

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Benedict of Montecassino: Scene, Poisoned Bread, Loaf taken by Raven -- 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, seated behind draped trestle table laden with dishes, cups and food (banquet scene), lowering right hand to indicate raven with round loaf in its beak, in foreground. Scene in Monastery of Montecassino refectory with six arched windows, wooden ceiling and mural of Crucifixion with Virgin Mary and Evangelist John behind the Benedict. Christ: Crucifixion, One Cross, with Virgin Mary and Evangelist John -- Christ, nimbed, wearing short loin cloth, bleeding from wounds in hands and feet, is affixed by three nails to tau-cross on mound, flanked by Virgin Mary, nimbed and veiled, and Evangelist John, nimbed, extending right hand and raising left hand to head (mural painting). Miniature within frame for Chapter 8 of Book II of Dialogues; A raven intercepts the poisoned loaf before it reaches Benedict of Montecassino.

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