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Medieval & Renaissance Manuscripts

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France, ca. 1511
MS M. 8 fol. 13r

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Christ: Nativity -- Nude Christ Child, crossed nimbus, reclines on cloth on ground. He is flanked by Joseph the Carpenter, nimbed, kneeling holding crutch between joined hands, and by Virgin Mary, nimbed, joined hands extended, kneeling looking down at Him. Rays descend above Joseph. Ox and ass are in background, ass head raised to hay rack. Scene in partially ruined building with stone floor. In lower margin, escutcheon decorated with heraldry of Guy de Castelnau-Bretenoux (quarterly 1 and 4 gules a castle with 3 towers; 2 and 3 azure a lion argent) surmounted by a black papal prothonotary’s hat from which hang tassels. Crozier behind the escutcheon. All flanked by curtains. All enclosed by camaieu architectural frame of two decorated columns supporting lintel. Statues in niches at top of the columns possibly shepherds, with joined hands, looking toward scene in miniature (Shepherds: Adoration). Text is first lesson in first nocturn for Matins on 12.25, Christmas Day.

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