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Medieval & Renaissance Manuscripts

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Prayer book
Italy, Milan, ca. 1430
MS M.944 fol. 33v

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Helena, Empress: Scene, finding True Cross -- Helena, crowned, wearing diaphanous veil, her mantle held open by maidservant, indicates wellhead with right hand, looking toward, and extending left hand toward Judas, left hand on breast. In foreground, two men, one using mattock, the other using spade (shovel) dig around hole in which are two tau crosses, and cross with titulus. Fire burns next to the hole. In background are woman, veiled, two men wearing hats, figure with bare head, and eight soldiers, one holding sword, another holding halberd.
Margins decorated with border of pea blossoms (?). In upper margin, scene title INUENTIO SANCTE CRUCIS.
Beginning of prayer on the feast of the Invention of the Holy Cross.

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