This post is a continuation of yesterdays, I’m making our way through this wonderful book of Hours, first I’ll identify and ramble on about the miniatures, I will be adding to the blog daily as I have time.
Because of his endurance under trial and his vocation, Sebastian is the patron saint of soldiers and athletes. and plague victims. In the text facing this miniature there is a prayer (from the Suffrages) asking to be spared from the plague.
Roman martyr; little more than the fact of his martyrdom can be proved about St. Sebastian. In the “Depositio martyrum” of the chronologer of 354 it is mentioned that Sebastian was buried on the Via Appia. St. Ambrose (“In Psalmum cxviii”; “Sermo”, XX, no. xliv in PL, XV, 1497) states that Sebastian came from Milan and even in the time of St. Ambrose was venerated there. The Acts, probably written at the beginning of the fifth century and formerly ascribed erroneously to Ambrose, relate that he was an officer in the imperial bodyguard and had secretly done many acts of love and charity for his brethren in the Faith. When he was finally discovered to be a Christian, in 286, he was handed over to the Mauretanian archers, who pierced him with arrows; he was healed, however, by the widowed St. Irene. He was finally killed by the blows of a club. These stories are unhistorical and not worthy of belief. The earliest mosaic picture of St. Sebastian, which probably belongs to the year 682, shows a grown, bearded man in court dress but contains no trace of an arrow. It was the art of the Renaissancethat first portrayed him as a youth pierced by arrows. In 367 a basilica which was one of the seven chiefchurches of Rome was built over his grave. The present church was completed in 1611 by Scipio Cardinal Borghese. His relics in part were taken in the year 826 to St. Medard at Soissons. Sebastian is considered a protector against the plague. Celebrated answers to prayer for his protection against the plague are related of Rome in 680, Milan in 1575, and Lisbon in 1599.
The next Miniature is the Annunciation:
In this full-page miniature, the Virgin seated at a prie-dieu covered with a blue cloth with an open prayer-book. Mary receives the message from the angel Gabriel with a staff in his left hand, that she has been chosen to be the Mother of God as the Dove of the Holy Spirit flies above them both. This miniature is surround by a border which has lush foliage , a happy blue bird and another bird standing on huge strawberries. It is interesting that the text goes outside of the box in two lines.
The Annunciation is the first prayers practiced in the early Morning( day break): Ad Matutinum [Ave Maria…]
V: Domine labia mea aperies.
R: Et os meum annunciabit laudem tuam.
V: Deus in adiutorium meum intende.
R: Domine ad adiuvandum me festina.
Gloria Patri, et Filio: et Spiritui sancto.
Sicut erat in principio, et nunc, et semper: et in saecula saeculorum, Amen. Alleluia.
Sic dicitur Alleluia, ad omnes Horas, a Vesperis Sabbathi sancti, usque ad Completorium Sabbathi ante Dominicam Septuagesimae. Tunc enim usque ad Vesperas Sabbathi sancti dicitur: Laus tibi Domine, Rex aeternae gloriae.
On folio 25v Mary and Elizabeth in a vail Lauds. Visitation. Mary greets her cousin Elizabeth, the mother of John the Baptist, who gestures towards the swollen belly of the Virgin. The text reads “The text reads: “Deus in adiutorium meum intende. Domine adjuvandum me festina,” (“O God, come to my assistance. O Lord, make haste to help me.”) is from the first verse of Psalm 69. The words from the introductory prayer to every Hour. As you can see the haloed figures are both dressed in elaborate blue and gray and gilt gowns, and covered with gold and red robes, with various individual details and embellishments. In he background is a large medieval tower and fields and trees. As with all the other miniatures in this book there is an elaborately foliated border featuring Strawberries and other fruits and vegetation within alternating clear and brushed gold compartments frames the scene. It also features two grotesques—one sort of looks like an “alligator- dog ” the other a rooster.
Folio 31r is a Crucifiction. The scene depicts the Crucifixion with Mary and Mary Magdalen mourning beside the cross. To the right of the central figure, an army watches on, led by Pilate’s soldiers stand to the left of the cross.