Leaf from the Hours of Duke Louis of Savoy: Saints Nereus and Achilleus

Leaf from the Hours of Duke Louis of Savoy: Saints Nereus and Achilleus

mid-1400s

Tempera and gold on vellum

Sheet: 11.2 x 8.9 cm (4 7/16 x 3 1/2 in.)

Purchase from the J. H. Wade Fund 1952.4

Did you know?

An estimated 82 folios is still missing from the original manuscript, the bulk of which is preserved in Paris.

Description

Once part of a book of hours made for Louis, Duke of Savoy and Prince of Piedmont (1413–1465), this miniature depicts two Roman martyrs of the early church, Nereus and Achilleus, shown in the center. Their feast day was jointly honored on May 12, suggesting this leaf comes from the Suffrages, a customizable section of a book of hours containing prayers to particular saints. On the left we see the saints being asked to worship idols, which they refuse. They are then burned at the stake and beheaded. On the right we see their burial at the top and the transfer of their relics to a new location below. Some sections this book are currently preserved in the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris.

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