Les Enluminures

Morgan MS M.1093, f. 63v

3. Hours of the Virgin
Infancy Cycle

Presentation in the Temple

According to the Gospel of Luke (2: 22-40), Mary and Joseph took Jesus to the temple in Jerusalem forty days after his birth to complete Mary's purification after childbirth and to perform the redemption of the firstborn, in compliance with Jewish law. The elderly prophetess Anna was also in the Temple; she offered prayers and praise to God for Jesus, and spoke to everyone there about his role in the redemption of Israel. Celebrating an early episode in the life of Jesus, the feast of the Presentation of Christ falls on February 2.

The high priest Simeon of Jerusalem, wearing a jeweled cope, stands behind the draped altar. Mary kneels before the altar, holding the naked Christ Child. Witnessing the scene are Joseph; a woman, wearing turban-like headdress; a man pointing to the priest; and the prophetess Anna, wearing jeweled headdress, holding a candle in right hand and a basket with doves in left hand. The foliate and floral margin includes a man carrying a basket on his back (in imitation of Anna’s basket?) and holding a staff.