MS M.917/945, ff. 69v–70r

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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 and with special assistance of Mrs. Frederick B. Adams, Sr., Mrs. Robert Charles, Mr. Laurens M. Hamilton, The Heineman Foundation, Mrs. Donald F. Hyde, Mrs. Jacob M. Kaplan, Mrs. John Kean, Mr. Paul Mellon, Mr. and Mrs. Charles F. Morgan, Mr. Lessing J. Rosenwald, Mr. and Mrs. August H. Schilling, Mrs. Herbert N. Straus, Mrs. Landon K. Thorne, Mrs. Alan Valentine, Mr. and Mrs. Arnold Whitridge, and Miss Julia P. Wightman, 1970

MS M.917/945, ff. 69v–70r

While Joseph of Arimathaea, holding a jar of ointment, looks on, Nicodemus, at the top of the ladder, hands the body of the dead Savior to a younger man. Mary Magdalene, her back to us, raises her hands in distress; the Virgin swoons into John's arms. In the Lamentation, Joseph of Arimathaea and Nicodemus reverently anoint Christ's feet and arms with cloth-covered hands; the Virgin supports the upper half of the Savior's body in her lap. Mary Magdalene raises her hands in anguish while John prays.

Hours of the Passion

The Hours of the Passion are often found in Books of Hours following, as in Catherine's manuscript, the Hours of the Virgin. The lengthy psalms are supplemented with prayers that narrate the story of Christ's Passion. If Catherine had little time, she might pray Matins alone, where the three lessons encapsulate the entire Passion, from Christ's Arrest until his Death on the Cross. A slower meditation is provided by the remaining Hours. The drama begins at Vespers, whose prayer narrates events from Holy Thursday: the Last Super and Christ Washing the Feet of the Apostles. Compline's prayer relates Christ's Agony in the Garden. The prayer at Lauds relates to Christ Before Pilate and Peter's Denial. The Passion concludes with None's prayer telling of Christ's Death on the Cross.


Image courtesy of Faksimile Verlag Luzern