Folio 187r

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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).

The Story of Saint Jerome
The Lion Finds the Missing Ass, Folio 187r

Four episodes of a legend about Jerome’s faithful lion are included in one complex picture, with the figure of the lion and a woodsman repeated three times. At upper left, a woodsman fells trees as the lion sleeps beside the grazing ass. When the ass is stolen by traders, the lion is forced to do the ass’s work of carrying wood. The lion sees the ass among the traders and charges them, driving them into the monastery and spilling his wood. The traders beg Jerome and the monks behind him for protection.

The Limbourgs could have seen real lions and camels in the menageries of the dukes of Berry and Burgundy.