Flight into Egypt
Book of Hours, in Latin
Illuminated by Simon Bening (1483/84-1561)
Purchased by Pierpont Morgan, 1907
Simon Bening's illumination in this codex is extremely delicate. The landscape is more advanced than than in the Da Costa Hours and subtler than in the equally small Van Damme Hours. This may be partially due to Bening's greater participation in the book, relying less on workshop assistance. Shown here is The Flight into Egypt, which exemplifies Bening's keen interest in depicting landscape and weather conditions. The miniature also attests to his attention to detail: note, to the right of the Virgin's head, the tiny gold statue that has toppled from the column on the hill. The idol's fall symbolizes the collapse of the old pagan world.