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Medieval & Renaissance Manuscripts

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Book of Hours
France, Paris, between 1550 and 1558
M.538 fol. 40r

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Christ: Circumcision -- Virgin Mary, veiled, hands extended, kneels before draped altar, on which sits nude Christ Child, rays as nimbus, arms extended. Man, possibly Joseph the Carpenter, stands behind Christ, his hands around His waist; Mohel, wearing miter, indicating penis of Christ Child with right hand, stands behind the altar. Man holding candle stands next to Mary; other figures next to him. Four men, two wearing soft peaked hats stand behind Joseph (?). Double lamp hangs above the altar. Basket containing two doves is in foreground.
Miniature within frame decorated with escutcheon decorated with heraldry of Claude Gouffier (or, three bars gemels sable), surmounted by crown, and surrounded by collar of the order of the Archangel Michael with pendant of Michael transfixing dragon on which he stands; (Angel, Archangel Michael: transfixing Dragon); two sheathed swords with straps, both blue and decorated with fleur-de-lis, crossing behind the escutcheon; vine scroll and foliate ornament; two caryatids, bodies draped, and terminating with plant roots, entwined with scrolls, the left inscribed HAERET TERMINET HIC and the right inscribed HIC TERMINET HAERET; at bottom, monogram Phi Chi of Claude Gouffier, with two crossed halberds behind, and winged head or mask below.

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