MS H.8, fols. 56v–57r

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Terce: Annunciation to the Shepherds

Hours of Henry VIII
Illuminated by Jean Poyer

France, Tours
ca. 1500
256 x 180 mm

Gift of the Heineman Foundation, 1977

MS H.8, fols. 56v–57r

Terce: Annunciation to the Shepherds (fol. 56v)

The Annunciation to the Shepherds, like the Nativity, is only recounted by Luke (2:8–14). Poyer, however, chose not to emphasize the nocturnal appearance of the single annunciatory angel amid the brightness of God but the later moment when the angel, joined by others from the heavenly hosts, sang the familiar "Glory to God in the Highest, and peace on earth to men of good will."

Poyer illustrates the Angels of the Annunciation singing their familiar "Glory to God in the Highest, and on earth peace to men of good will" by adding the text on the scroll that they present: Gloria in exelssi [sic: excelsis] Deo et in terra pax.

Wooden sheds in the background contain more sheep and two shepherds who are not yet aware of the angel's good tidings.

Three shepherds in the fore- ground, seen from the back or side, look up and receive the tidings. One holds a staff while another with a bagpipe has a second instrument—a flute— tucked into his belt; the shepherdess holds a distaff.

One wonders if the solitary and prominently placed goat amid the sheep would have recalled Matthew 25:32, where the future Son of Man would come to judge and separate the blessed from the evil, "just as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats."