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Collections | Medieval & Renaissance Manuscripts

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Book of Hours

Flight into Egypt
Book of Hours, in Latin
Belgium, Bruges, ca. 1520
Illuminated by Simon Bening (1483/84-1561)
80 x 60 mm.
Purchased by Pierpont Morgan, 1907; MS M.307, fol. 71v
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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.

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The programs of The Morgan Library & Museum are made possible with public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, and by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.

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