MS M.399, fol. 162v

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Da Costa hours
Illuminated by Simon Bening (1483/84–1561)

Ghent, Belgium
ca. 1515
172 x 125 mm

Purchased by J. Pierpont Morgan (1837–1913), 1910

MS M.399, fol. 162v

Magi: Adoration―A ray of light from a star, appearing in a hole in the stable roof, falls on the eldest magus, who is kneeling with his hands joined before the Christ Child. A nimbed and veiled Virgin Mary holds the nude Christ Child. The youngest magus, who is black, stands, and the middle-aged magus, who holds gold vessels, kneels. Behind the magi and to the left, two men (shepherds?) look on. Behind the Virgin Mary, Joseph the Carpenter appears in an archway of the building. A landscape is visible in the background.
The scene is framed by a border decorated by a pearl-studded diamond pattern. Within panels of diamonds are jeweled pendants. In the left border, a panel contains the image of a nimbed Veronica of Rome holding a sudarium. In the lower border, the central panel contains an image of a nimbed Lamb of God holding a bannered cross-staff with its front leg.


Image courtesy of Akademische Druck- u. Verlagsanstalt, Graz/Austria.