Germany, Würzburg, mid 15th century. Latin; 440 × 330 mm, 303 fols. Arundel MS 108, f.146b
The figures of the crucified Christ, his mother and his favourite disciple, St John, are placed against a background of heavy tooled gold, protected by a curtain of purple silk stitched to the vellum page. Their robes are painted in the soft, bright colours favoured by German illuminators of the time and the ground at their feet is studded with delicately painted naturalistic plants. The manuscript was made for use at Würzburg in the time of Gottfried von Limpurg, who was bishop between 1443 and 1455.
Northern Netherlands, c. 1440. Dutch; 390 × 290 mm, 300 fols. Additional MS 15410, f.54 (detail)
Dutch miniature painters produced a substantial number of illustrated copies of a vernacular version of the bible, the most elaborate containing more than 500 separate miniatures. This bible, made about 1440, was painted by the Master of Catherine of Cleves and his associates. Much admired and studied since the rediscovery of his masterpiece, the Hours of Catherine of Cleves, Duchess of Guelders, in the early 1960s, this artist's style has been identified in a large number of manuscripts. The Hours is now one of the greatest treasures of the Pierpont Morgan Library in New York. This miniature, though not by the Master's own hand, is a fine and lively example of the work being produced in the northern Netherlands during his time.