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Medieval & Renaissance Manuscripts

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Compilatio historiarum / Giovanni, da Udine
Switzerland, Basel, ca. 1476
MS M.158 fol. 45r

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Miniature, upper left: 1) Tower of Babel: Building -- Among two workmen, one wearing hat, both hold trowels in left hands, stand on scaffolds of Tower of Babel, with three windows and arched doorway, on which leans two ladders mounted by another two workmen, wearing hats, one holds container and the other holds small bucket. Miniature, lower left: 2) Moses: receiving Law -- Half-figure of Christ-Logos, cross-nimbed, appears in cloudy arc of Heaven, He extends His left hand above four men, including Moses, horned, with left hand holding staff, and beside two veiled women. Miniature, upper right: 3) Elisha: Widow’s Oil -- Woman, veiled, and man, flank and overturn large vessel, emptying its contents into four other vessels; the outermost two vessels on which the figures stand. Miniature, lower right: 4) Virgin Mary: Consolation -- Virgin Mary, nimbed and veiled, with arms crossed on breast stands amid representations of events in life of Christ including (chronologically from lower right): Archangel Gabriel, as three-quarter figure, (suggesting Virgin Mary: Annunciation); heads of ass and ox behind wattle-fence (suggesting Christ: Nativity); withes beside leg with foot in bucket (suggesting Christ: Flagellation and Christ: washing of Feet); arms and armor, including club, halberd, sword and spear (suggesting Christ: Arrest); half-figure of Christ, cross-nimbed, gesturing; column flanked by withes and scourge (suggesting Christ: Flagellation); tau-cross flanked by spade and knife (suggesting Christ: Crucifixion); floreate cross-staff with cross-inscribed banner standing in empty sarcophagus (suggesting Christ: Resurrection); stone with two footprints (suggesting Christ: Ascension). Miniatures are proofs for Bernhard Richel’s Spiegel Menschlicher Behältnis (Basel: 1476) with biblical quotes, commentary and abbreviated extracts, written in German, for Chapters 34 and 35 (Virgin Mary: Consolation) of the Speculum Humanae Salvationis.

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