MS M.917/945, pp. 52–53

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Judgment of Solomon

The Netherlands, Utrecht
ca. 1440
7 1/2 x 5 1/8 inches (192 x 130 mm)

Purchased on the Belle da Costa Greene Fund with the assistance of the Fellows, 1963

MS M.917/945, pp. 52–53

The Tuesday Hours of the Holy Spirit begin with these juxtaposed images. On the left is Pentecost, the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the apostles, who were then inspired to convert the world. The smaller miniature illustrates the first of the Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit. Wisdom, the first gift, is illustrated by Solomon's sagacity in determining the true mother of a disputed child by threatening to cut the baby in two. (The baby's real mother renounces her claim, raising her hand to prevent the strike of the sword.) The happy resolution of the dispute is illustrated
in the bottom border.

Hours and Masses for the Seven Days of the Week

The most unusual texts in Catherine's manuscript are the series of Hours and Masses for every day of the week. Medieval Christian tradition associated certain figures or themes with different days. Thus Sunday, the day of the Resurrection, was the Lord's Day; Thursday was connected with the Eucharist since that sacrament was instituted on Holy Thursday; and Monday was the day of the dead, since their torments were suspended on Sunday but recommenced the following day. In Catherine's prayer book, the themes for the Hours and Masses of the seven days of the week are:

Sunday the Trinity
Monday the Dead
Tuesday the Holy Spirit
Wednesday All Saints
Thursday the Blessed Sacrament
Friday the Compassion of God
Saturday the Virgin.

Image courtesy of Faksimile Verlag Luzern