MS M.917/945, pp. 256–257

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Conversion of St. Hubert

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. 256–257

Hubert, patron of the hunt, is pictured on the ride that changed his life. While in pursuit of a deer, a vision of the Crucifixion appeared to him between the antlers of a stag, and he heard a voice telling him to exchange his life of frivolity for one dedicated to God. In the miniature Hubert sports a fancy hat with two long feathers and a turned-up brim and wears a white and crimson gown split for riding. He pulls hard on the reins of his long-legged steed as the stag rears up in front of him. Three hunting dogs cavort at the feet of the horse, the foremost of them back on its haunches with paws upraised as if in prayer. The border also contains a hunting scene: a small fawn is attacked by an eagle.


Suffrages are short prayers to individual saints. As protectors of medieval people, saints were their doctor in plague, their midwife at childbirth, their guardian when traveling, and their nurse during toothache. If the Virgin was the figure to whom one addressed the all-important petition for eternal salvation, it was from saints that one sought more basic or temporal kinds of help. While the Virgin became, as the Mother of God, almost a goddess herself, saints retained more of their humanity and thus their approachability.


Image courtesy of Faksimile Verlag Luzern