MS M.917/945, ff. 60v–61r

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Flagellation of Christ
Christ Crowned with Thorns

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 and with special assistance of Mrs. Frederick B. Adams, Sr., Mrs. Robert Charles, Mr. Laurens M. Hamilton, The Heineman Foundation, Mrs. Donald F. Hyde, Mrs. Jacob M. Kaplan, Mrs. John Kean, Mr. Paul Mellon, Mr. and Mrs. Charles F. Morgan, Mr. Lessing J. Rosenwald, Mr. and Mrs. August H. Schilling, Mrs. Herbert N. Straus, Mrs. Landon K. Thorne, Mrs. Alan Valentine, Mr. and Mrs. Arnold Whitridge, and Miss Julia P. Wightman, 1970

MS M.917/945, ff. 60v–61r

At the left, Pilate, decadently dressed in a tall bag hat worn over a dagged chaperon, directs Christ's torment, the scepter of authority in his right hand. The frail Christ is tied to a column by two men in exotically pointed hats, while two others energetically punch or flagellate the Savior's bleeding body. The unusual reddish color of the column and its base might refer to Christ's blood. In the smaller miniature, Pilate, again at the left, directs the crowning of Christ with thorns. While others continue to strike the blindfolded Savior, two men apply the tortuous crown with long staves.

Hours of the Passion

The Hours of the Passion are often found in Books of Hours following, as in Catherine's manuscript, the Hours of the Virgin. The lengthy psalms are supplemented with prayers that narrate the story of Christ's Passion. If Catherine had little time, she might pray Matins alone, where the three lessons encapsulate the entire Passion, from Christ's Arrest until his Death on the Cross. A slower meditation is provided by the remaining Hours. The drama begins at Vespers, whose prayer narrates events from Holy Thursday: the Last Super and Christ Washing the Feet of the Apostles. Compline's prayer relates Christ's Agony in the Garden. The prayer at Lauds relates to Christ Before Pilate and Peter's Denial. The Passion concludes with None's prayer telling of Christ's Death on the Cross.


Image courtesy of Faksimile Verlag Luzern