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Saturday, May 22, 2010

Pentecost: A Miniature

Attributed to Simon Bening (1483–1561)
PENTECOST, leaf with a full-page miniature from the Munich-Monserrat Hours
Bruges, 1535-40
Illuminated manuscript on vellum
140 x 102mm (leaf), 122 x 87mm (painted area).
Private collection

The Virgin, prays over the open book on her lap, and is seated beside a table with a book and candlestick.

To her left sits St Peter and St John the Evangelist kneels at the right of her.

The miniature on the verso would have preceded the short Hours of the Holy Spirit.

The Munich-Montserrat Hours were in Spain from an early date and may have been made for a Spanish patron. They are currently divided between the Abbey of Montserrat, which holds the bulk of the text, and the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek in Munich, which has the Calendar and two other miniatures (Ms lat. 23638).

In his lifetime Bening was described as 'the greatest master in the art of illumination in all of Europe'

For reflections on the gifts of the Holy Spirit see the recent blog entries of Abbot Cuthbert Johnson