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(French, Paris, active about 1410–25)
Ink, tempera, silver, and gold on vellum
Leaf: 16 x 11.2 cm (6 5/16 x 4 7/16 in.)
The Jeanne Miles Blackburn Collection 2014.21
In a book of hours, the suffrages generally appear at the end of the manuscript and consist of prayers to particular saints, often illustrated by miniatures. Saints were the protectors and patrons of medieval people, and countless owners of books of hours must have been consoled by reciting these prayers and readings that contained elements of praise and pleas for intercession. This miniature introduces the suffrage to Saint Catherine of Alexandria, an early virgin martyr of the Christian Church cruelly killed by the Emperor Maxentius (died AD 312). The text begins: Gaude dulcis katherina virgo martr (Rejoice dear Catherine, virgin and martyr). Catherine appears with a palm branch, the symbol of martyrdom, and is flanked by Saints Geneviève and Margaret, two other virgin martyrs of the early church.
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