Les Enluminures

Morgan MS M.1093, f. 99r

4. Hours of the cross


The death of Jesus Christ on Golgotha, recounted in all four Gospels, illustrates the Hours of the Cross.

Against a starry sky, the sun and the moon on the left and right, Christ, wearing the crown of thorns and a short loincloth, is affixed with three nails to the cross on which the titulus INRI is inscribed (“Iesus Nazarenus Rex Iudaeorum,” Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews). A kneeling Mary Magdalene embraces the base of the cross. Flanking the cross are the good and the bad thieves, bound to Tau crosses. The evangelist John supports with the swooning Virgin; behind him appear two Holy Women. Romans and Jews stand on the right of the cross, including three men wearing pointed hats and helmeted soldiers with spears. In a landscape with rocky hills and trees appears the distant city of Jerusalem reflected in the lake. A fantastic animal inhabits the foliate and floral border.