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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 Cross
Descent from the Cross, Folio 80r
The Hours of the Cross, one of the standard texts in a book of hours, receives only one illumination in the Belles Heures: an emotional and iconographically rich depiction of Christ’s body being lowered by Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea, received by the Virgin and Mary Magdalen below. Attendant angels hold the lance and sponge. The scene is given an elaborate border with a broad band of interlace anchored at the corners by medallions with sorrowing angels.