Fol. 185v

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Jean Poyer

St. Anthony of Padua: Anthony and the Miracle of the Kneeling Horse
Border: Anthony Preaching

Hours of Henry VIII, in Latin
Illuminated by Jean Poyer

France, Tours
ca. 1500
256 x 180 mm

The Dannie and Hettie Heineman Collection; deposited in 1962, given in 1977

MS H.8 (fol. 185v)
Item description: 

Illuminated around 1500 by the artist Jean Poyer, The Hours of Henry VIII receives its name from the possible but unproven eighteenth-century tradition that holds King Henry of England once owned this splendid manuscript. By following the simple instructions, you can explore every painting of this Renaissance masterpiece and learn how Books of Hours helped their readers to pray.

Books of Hours contain more or less standard texts—Calendar, Gospel Lessons, Hours of the Virgin, Hours of the Cross, Hours of the Holy Spirit, Penitential Psalms with Litany, Office of the Dead, and Suffrages—as well as a number of common accessory prayers. Based on the frequency and variety of added devotions, it appears that scribes included these for owners who wished to personalize their prayer books.

Page description: 

St. Anthony of Padua: Anthony and the Miracle of the Kneeling Horse
Border: Anthony Preaching (fol. 185v)

One of Anthony's most popular miracles involved a challenge to prove the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist. Although the story is normally told about a mule, Poyer has replaced it with a horse, who ignores the proffered feed and kneels before the host that Anthony holds over a chalice.

Born in Lisbon in 1195, the saint is known as Anthony of Padua because the basilica in that city (where he briefly resided) possesses his miracle-working relics. Already, as a pious youth, he used prayer to overcome the severe temptations against purity that he suffered during his teens. Initially joining the Augustinian order, he later became a Franciscan friar and preached throughout northern Italy and southern France with great success.

Anthony died in 1231 at Arcella, near Padua, and was quickly canonized by Pope Gregory IX the following year. Until the end of the fourteenth century his cult was a local Paduan phenomenon. However, in the fifteenth century, Bernardino of Siena, a noted theologian and leader of the Franciscan order, brought Anthony wider renown, making him the most popular Franciscan saint after Francis of Assisi.

An unbelieving man, a Jew named Guillard, looks on in astonishment, as he had claimed that he would be convinced if a horse could pass up a measure of oats for the consecrated Host. (Feast day: June 13)

Having a magnificent memory and vast knowledge of the Bible, Anthony and was acclaimed for his skill in preaching, which began when a misunderstanding at an ordination left the service without a speaker. His superiors ordered him to come forward and say whatever the Holy Spirit put into his mouth, which he did with great style, passion, and erudition.