Passion According to John: "Ego sum"
Hours of Henry VII
Illuminated by Jean Poyer
Gift of the Heineman Foundation, 1977
Passion According to John: "Ego sum" (fol. 13)
John's Passion is normally illustrated with an image of Christ's Agony in the Garden or, as here, the Ego sum (I am he). The Latin title of the picture derives from the short but dramatic answer Christ gave to the rough band of soldiers who had come with Judas to arrest him. At his two words, the soldiers fell back in amazement. Behind Christ, St. Peter begins to draw his sword.
The iconography of Poyer's nighttime scene can be traced back to the version painted by the Limbourg brothers in Jean, duc de Berry's, Trés Riches Heures (shortly before 1416), a miniature that, like many in his famous manuscript, was highly influential on French illumination.
Within the group of soldiers on the ground Judas can be identified as the bearded figure at the left clutching his moneybag.