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Collections | Medieval & Renaissance Manuscripts

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Virgin and Child Enthroned with the Gentleman of Cologne and a Soldier, in an initial A

Virgin and Child Enthroned with the Gentleman of Cologne and a Soldier, in an initial A
Leaf from a Gradual, in Latin
Spain, Castile, Toledo, ca. 1500, commissioned by the rosary confraternity of Toledo's silk weavers for the Dominican convent of San Pedro Mártir el Real
928 x 600 mm
Gift of William S. Glazier, 1958; MS M.887.1
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This elaborate leaf contains the Introit for the Mass of the First Sunday in Advent. In the initial A (of Ad), the "Gentleman of Cologne," holding a rosary and wearing a chaplet of roses, kneels before the Virgin and child, who had appeared miraculously. The knight on the right was about to avenge the death of his brother, slain by the gentleman in a quarrel. The knight, however, was deterred by the miraculous appearance and the two men became friends. The five wounds of Christ, shown three times in the borders, was the emblem of the rosary confraternity. The two depictions of Hercules slaying Ladon, the serpent/dragon guarding the golden apples in the garden of the Hesperides have local meaning, as Hercules was the legendary founder of Toledo. The Hercules figures were inspired by Antonio Pollaiuolo's famous engraved Battle of the Ten Nudes (1465). The roses in the borders refer to the confraternity of the rosary.

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Background images: Photography by Todd Eberle unless otherwise noted. © 2006 Todd Eberle.