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Leaf from a Book of Hours: Christ Carrying the Cross (Sext, Hours of the Cross)

Leaf from a Book of Hours: Christ Carrying the Cross (Sext, Hours of the Cross)

c. 1410-1420

Ink, tempera and gold on vellum

Each leaf: 17.2 x 12.1 cm (6 3/4 x 4 3/4 in.)

The Jeanne Miles Blackburn Collection 1999.127

Description

Within books of hours, the Hours of the Cross normally received only one miniature, a Crucifixion, as its introduction. There are exceptions, however, and in some books of hours a Passion cycle of seven miniatures, one for each hour (except Lauds), might be found. The present leaf with its miniature of Christ Carrying the Cross would have been part of such a cycle of pictures in which it introduced the Hour of Sext (confirmed by the rubric, Ad Sextam). The composition shows Christ laboring to support the weight of the cross as he journeys to Calvary. The Virgin and Saint John appear at the far left as the group exits the gates of Jerusalem. In the background, the body of Judas is seen suspended from a tree high upon a hill.

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