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Medieval & Renaissance Manuscripts

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Vita S. Benedicti
Italy, perhaps in Padua, ca. 1450
MS M.184 fol. 31v

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Benedict of Montecassino: Scene, Miracle of Excommunicated Nuns -- In church with vaulted ceiling and three windows, group of four nuns kneel, two with joined hands raised, one holding rosary, all wearing wimpled veils or headdresses, before tonsured deacon, wearing vestments, and tonsured priest, wearing vestments, with mouth opened, with right hand raised to breast, facing right toward altar on which are open book with pseudo-inscriptions, two lit candles and chalice and paten, above is mural painting (?) of Crucifixion. Christ: Crucifixion, One Cross -- Christ, cross-nimbed, with head inclined, wearing crown of thorns and long loin cloth, is bleeding from wound in side, affixed by three nails to cross (mural painting). In foreground, two small, nude half-figures, with hands raised (souls of Excommunicated Nuns), emerge from tombs on floor. In background through church portal are tree and font (partly visible). Miniature within frame for middle of Chapter 23 of Book II of Dialogues; In foreground, spirits of the Two Excommunicated Nun are shown rising from their tombs when deacon asks for all profane persons to leave the church before mass.

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