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Collections | Medieval & Renaissance Manuscripts

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St. Luke Painting the Virgin image

St. Luke Painting the Virgin
Prayer Book, in Latin
Illuminated by Michelino Molinari da Besozzo
Italy, Milan, ca. 1420
170 x 120 mm
Purchased with the generous assistance of Alice Tully in memory of Dr. Edward Graeffe, 1970; MS M.944 (fol. 75v)
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Michelino's contemporaries regarded him as the "supreme painter" and the "most excellent of all the painters in the world." This small prayer book, which contains most of his surviving work, is his masterpiece. Here St. Luke the evangelist is putting the finishing touches on a small panel of the Virgin and Child. This is one of the earliest Western depictions of the subject, which became increasingly popular later in the century because St. Luke was the patron saint of painters and painters' guilds.

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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.