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Medieval & Renaissance Manuscripts

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Piccolomini breviary
Italy, Lombardy, ca. 1475
MS M.799 fol. 64r

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Within initial N, Peter, raising left hand, and Paul, holding raised sword with right hand, both nimbed, standing in landscape.
In upper margin, bust of God, raising right hand, in barbed quatrefoil flanked by two pairs of addorsed animals including monkey, deer and goat.
Enclosed in barbed quatrefoil at top of left margin, bust of Augustinian monk, nimbed and tonsured with joined hands. Below, surrounded by foliage, deer in landscape. In middle, putto raising basin of flowers with both hands. In lower left margin, enclosed in lozenge, profile bust of Augustinian monk, nimbed.
At top of right margin, bust of Augustinian monk, nimbed and tonsure, head inclined, with joined hands. Below, pedestal flanked by two putti playing lute and rebec.
John Baptist: Beheading -- In middle of right margin, executioner, holding scimitar with right hand, stands over headless body of John Baptist, bleeding from neck, with joined hands, kneeling. Head is on ground. Below, two putti, flanking pedestal, extend right arms to each other, possibly dancing.
At bottom of right margin, bust of Augustinian monk, nimbed and tonsured, right hand on breast, supporting book with left arm.
In lower margin, group of men, some wearing hats, and women, some veiled, three back-turned, sit before John Baptist (?), nimbed, right hand raised, standing on raised platform. (John Baptist: preaching) Scene is flanked by four putti, two, wearing tunics, flying, and two astride dolphins, all amid foliate ornament.
Text is Chapter for Vespers on Saturday preceding first Sunday in Advent.

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