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(French, Paris, active about 1410–25)
Ink, tempera, silver, and gold on vellum
Leaf: 16 x 11.2 cm (6 5/16 x 4 7/16 in.)
The Jeanne Miles Blackburn Collection 2014.21
A typical book of hours contains around a dozen suffrages or individualized prayers to specific saints.
This leaf’s illumination includes Saints Geneviève, Catherine of Alexandria, and Margaret, all early church saints, virgins, and martyrs. During the 1400s and 1500s, the popularity of female saints increased, as did the literacy rate among women, thanks to books of hours. Saint Genevieve is shown with a candle the devil is trying to extinguish while an angel relights it. Saint Catherine, in the center, holds a palm branch and a sword, with which she was executed. Saint Margaret stands on the dragon from whom she emerged clean and unharmed when the cross she carried irritated the dragon’s innards.
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