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Medieval & Renaissance Manuscripts

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Vita Christi (Life of Christ)
Belgium, Bruges, ca. 1440
MS M.649 fol. 2r

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Zone 1:
1) Christ: Presentation -- Within building, Simeon, hands draped, holds Christ Child, cross nimbed and swaddled, over draped altar on which are two doves. Opposite, Virgin Mary, nimbed, kneels at altar. To right, Joseph the Carpenter stands at altar, right hand on breast, left hand indicating altar.
2) Abraham: blessed by Melchisedek -- Melchisedek, name inscribed MELCHISEDECH on scroll , wearing high priest miter, holding large flask with both hands, stands next to draped table or altar on which is another flask and three disks, possibly bread. Abraham, named inscribed ABRAHAM on scroll , stands on other side of table, holding rope tied around hands of king, kneeling on one knee. Behind him are three more kings, two kneeling on one knee. Kings possibly are: Chedorlaomer, king of Elam; Tidal, king of nations; Amraphel, king of Shinar; and Arioch, king of Ellasar, the four kings who fought against the five kings. (Genesis 14: 1-9)
Zone 2:
1) Christ: Flight into Egypt -- Virgin Mary, nimbed and veiled, on donkey, holds Christ Child, cross nimbed and swaddled, in her arms. Joseph leads donkey with rope held in his right hand and with left hand, holds draped staff over left shoulder. At left is draped altar with two pedestals, one with broken idol on top. Another piece of broken idol is on ground. Scene is set in landscape with rocks and tree.
2) Moses: crossing the Red Sea -- Standing in Red Sea are crowd of soldiers wearing armor and helmets, and Pharoah, name inscribed PHARAO on scroll, crowned, holding saber in right hand and long shield with face in left hand. Moses, name inscribed MOISES on scroll, horned, looking up and away from the sea, stands on dry land. He is flanked by two men, one of whom looks back to the sea. Above, in niche surmounted with cross, bust of God (?), right hand extended, emerges from rayed arc of Heaven.

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