Free Library of Philadelphia


The Nativity and Adoration of the Christ Child

This manuscript has been dated to ca. 1500.

The miniature above the text depicts the Adoration of the Christ Child, a popular late medieval variation on the traditional Nativity scene in which the Virgin lies on a bed and the Christ Child is laid in a manger. In the miniature below, Joseph is shown participating in the care of the newborn. Often in the iconography of the Nativity, Joseph is placed off to the side as a mere bystander in the events surrounding the birth of Christ. This scene reflects changing attitudes in the late Middle Ages regarding the role of Joseph as the loving foster-father of the Son of God. The prayer written between the two scenes, "Deus in adiutorium meum intende" (Incline unto my aid, O Lord), begins Prime of the Hours of the Virgin.

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Rare Book Department