MS M.399, fol. 295v

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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. 295v

Within a landscape, an executioner holds the head of a martyr, who is blindfolded and partially nude. The executioner raises a sword held in his right hand. The bodies of two martyrs, both beheaded, are on the ground beside the first martyr. Three men, including a horseman, look on. Beyond at the bottom of a hill, two tormentors raise scourges against two martyrs, who are partially nude and bound to a pole. A third tormentor kneels on the ground making a scourge by tying twigs together. On top of the hill, an executioner grasps the left arm of a partially nude martyr. Two executioners push two nude martyrs off the hill with pitchforks. At the bottom of the hill, three martyrs are impaled on trees. To the right of the hill, a group of figures, including soldiers and horsemen, stand below seven crucified martyrs affixed to tau crosses. All the martyrs are nimbed.

The scene is framed by an illusionistic wood border.


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