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Medieval & Renaissance Manuscripts

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Book of Hours
France, Paris, between 1550 and 1558
M.538 fol. 62r

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Christ: Harrowing of Hell -- Christ, rays as nimbus, holding in left hand cross-staff with cross inscribed banner, extends right hand to extended hands of nude woman standing in pit next to broken gate with men (?) behind her. Winged serpent flies above their heads. In opening above the pit, devil with horns, raises arms. Nude men, foremost with joined hands, and woman, stand behind Christ.
Scene in rocky setting with buildings, fiery atmosphere with glowing light in buildings, clouds of smoke, devils flying or sitting in background.
Miniature within frame decorated with foliate ornament; garlands; 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, flanked by two dogs; two sheathed swords entwined with strap, blue decorated with gold fleur-de-lis; panel with monogram of Claude Gouffier, Phi Chi, below which is winged head or mask; two crossed halberds behind the panel.

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