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Belles Heures of Jean de France, duc de Berry, 1405–1408/9. Herman, Paul, and Jean de Limbourg (Franco-Netherlandish, active in France by 1399–1416). French; Made in Paris. Ink, tempera, and gold leaf on vellum; 9 3/8 x 6 5/8 in. (23.8 x 16.8 cm). The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, The Cloisters Collection, 1954 (54.1.1).
Hours of the Passion
Christ offered the Sop, Folio 142r
In the first of three Crucifixion scenes in the Belles Heures, the Limbourg brothers created a symmetrical composition with the cross as the central vertical axis. The mourning Virgin and Saint John, each in voluminous drapery, flank the base of the cross. The sop, or sponge full of vinegar mounted on a reed, is mentioned in the Gospel account. At the left, a soldier holds a shield in the form of a face, a motif found several times in the manuscript.