Free Library of Philadelphia


This miniature begins Prime of the Hours of the Virgin. It depicts the unusual scene of a midwife handing the swaddled Christ Child to the Virgin Mary, who lies on a bed with a book in her lap as Joseph looks on. The female saint is possibly St. Anastasia of Sirmium, whose legend was sometimes conflated with the apocryphal story of the midwife Salome in late medieval literature. This miniature was painted by the Luçon Master, one of the finest painters working in France in the beginning of the fifteenth century. His work is a prime example of the International Style, a style associated with courtly European culture at this time.

The text for this miniature is for the hour of Terce. The rubricator for the manuscript designated two places for Prime, and the miniatures have been switched. (The Annunciation to the Shepherds appears with the text for Prime, and the Nativity appears with the text for Terce--it should be the other way around.)


This manuscript has been dated to ca. 1405. The scribe Johannes Parvus signed his name on f. 206v.

Digital Scriptorium ShelfMark:

Rare Book Department