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Ink, tempera, and liquid gold on vellum
Each leaf: 17.9 x 12.8 cm (7 1/16 x 5 1/16 in.)
The Jeanne Miles Blackburn Collection 2001.79
This image opens to what is the heart of every book of hours, the Hours of the Virgin, a set of prayers in which the reader asked the Virgin Mary to intercede on their behalf.
This leaf came from a highly customized and lavish book of hours made in Rouen, a major center for book production at the time. Intended for a female patron, the book, of which the museum owns three leaves, contained numerous illuminations. Shown here are Adam and Eve, the first man and woman, just before disobeying God by eating fruit from the forbidden tree of knowledge in the Garden of Eden, considered the first sin in Christianity. This precedes the Hours of the Virgin’s traditional first scene of the Annunciation. Its inclusion emphasizes a need for redemption through recitation of the subsequent prayers.
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