MS M.917/945, pp. 68–69

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Arnold of Egmond, Catherine of Cleves’ Husband, Praying to Christ

The Netherlands, Utrecht
ca. 1440
7 1/2 x 5 1/8 inches (192 x 130 mm)

Purchased on the Belle da Costa Greene Fund with the assistance of the Fellows, 1963

MS M.917/945, pp. 68–69

The seventh and last gift of the Holy Spirit is fear of the Lord. It is illustrated with a portrait of Catherine's husband, Arnold, praying to Christ of the Last Judgment (the sword of justice and lily of mercy spring from the Savior's mouth). Arnold invokes Psalm 118, verse 120: "Make my flesh tremble from fear of the Lord." The devil, however, countermands from Psalm 35, verse 2, arguing that "There is no fear of the Lord before God's eyes." Christ's rather neutral reply is from Ecclesiastes (12:13): "Fear God and follow his commandments; this is true for all men." These sequential portraits of Catherine and Arnold place the duchess, who commissioned the manuscript, and her husband, the duke, in starkly contrasting contexts.

Hours and Masses for the Seven Days of the Week

The most unusual texts in Catherine's manuscript are the series of Hours and Masses for every day of the week. Medieval Christian tradition associated certain figures or themes with different days. Thus Sunday, the day of the Resurrection, was the Lord's Day; Thursday was connected with the Eucharist since that sacrament was instituted on Holy Thursday; and Monday was the day of the dead, since their torments were suspended on Sunday but recommenced the following day. In Catherine's prayer book, the themes for the Hours and Masses of the seven days of the week are:

Sunday the Trinity
Monday the Dead
Tuesday the Holy Spirit
Wednesday All Saints
Thursday the Blessed Sacrament
Friday the Compassion of God
Saturday the Virgin.

Image courtesy of Faksimile Verlag Luzern