Skip to contentSkip to navigation
Become a Member
Explore today's schedule
Visit MMFA for free by becoming a Member
Learn more
Back

The Descent from the Cross
Leaf from a manuscript Book of Hours in Latin

Location

VENETO (VENICE? PADUA?)

Title

The Descent from the Cross
Leaf from a manuscript Book of Hours in Latin

Date

About 1375

Materials

Tempera, gold leaf and ink on parchment

Dimensions

12.9 x 8.8 cm

Credits

F. Cleveland Morgan Bequest, inv. 1962.1356

Collection

Western Art

This leaf, like that of the Woman Reading in a Studiolo, also on display here, comes from the same Italian Book of Hours. Its restoration by the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts revealed another miniature on the verso, with a rubric indicating the liturgical hour of Vespers.


The rediscovered miniature of the Descent from the Cross is of superb quality: the luminous palette, the areas of vivid colour — such as the blue mantles of the female figures — and the liberal use of burnished gold give an almost Byzantine splendour to this tragic scene.


The Harrowing of Hell, on the recto, is not a common subject for a Book of Hours. According to the legend, between his burial and his resurrection, Christ descended into Limbo to release Adam and Eve, and then the patriarchs.

A touch of culture to your inbox
Subscribe to the Museum newsletter

Bourgie Hall Newsletter sign up

This website uses cookies in order to optimize your browsing experience and for promotional purposes. To learn more, please see our policy on the protection of personal Iinformation