L a - b e a u t é - s a u v e r a - l e - m o n d e ~ D o s t o ï e v s k i

L a - b e a u t é - s a u v e r a - l e - m o n d e  ~  D o s t o ï e v s k i

Friday, October 6, 2017

Souls in Purgatory - illuminations from the Hours of Catherine of Cleves

The Hours of Catherine of Cleves is an illuminated manuscript in the Gothic style, produced by an anonymous Dutch artist known as the Master of Catherine of Cleves. It is one of the most lavishly illustrated manuscripts to survive from the fifteenth century and has been described as one of the masterpieces of Northern European illumination. This book of hours contains the usual offices, prayers, and litanies in Latin, as well as supplemental texts, and is decorated with one-hundred and fifty-seven brilliantly colored and gilded illuminations. The book was commissioned for Catherine, Duchess of Guelders and Countess of Zutphen, by either her father, Adolph I, Duke of Cleves, or her husband; the occasion was her marriage to Arnold, Duke of Guelders, on 26 January 1430. The manuscript was probably only finished - at the earliest - four years later, and more likely about 1440. The Hours allegedly had one other owner after Catherine's death. And then it disappeared for some four hundred years.

It only resurfaced in 1856, in the possession of a Paris book dealer. At some point around that time it was divided into two volumes, being altered to give the appearance that that had been its original form. The two halves went separately through several important collections until, in 1963 and 1970, the Morgan Library and Museum in New York City purchased both halves and reconstructed the correct sequence of the original, single volume. During its nineteenth-century disassembly, nine to twelve leaves were removed and are now presumed lost.

"Souls Tormented in Purgatory."
"Souls in Purgatory Consoled with the Offering."
"Souls Released from Purgatory."

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