Depicting Devotion: Illuminated Books of Hours from the Middle Ages

Washington University Libraries, Department of Special Collections, St. Louis, Winter 2001-2001

Table of Contents
Books of Hours
I Calendar
II Gospel Lessons
III Hours of the Virgin
IV Hours of the Cross
V Additional Prayers to the Virgin
VI Hours of the Holy Spirit
VII Penitential Psalms
VIII Office of the Dead
IX Accessory Texts
X Peacocks and Eggs

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Section V: Additional Prayers to the Virgin

Additional prayers to the Virgin, the Obsecro te and the O Intemerata , can be accompanied by various illuminations or none at all.

Obsecro te MS 6 Paris ca. 1450
possibly the work of a follower of the Bedford Master
20 cm by 13 cm, BX2080/R72/ca. 1450

Obsecro te
In this depiction, two angels surround the Virgin; one plays a portative organ, the other plucks a harp. The organ was the only instrument allowed in church, and the harp represented divine music. Angel musicians are often depicted playing these instruments, and they symbolize divine harmony.

O Intemerata MS 7 France, ca. teens or 1520s
resembles work of the Master of Morgan 85;
possibly the work of a follower of the Master of Petrarch's Triumphs
16.3 cm. by 11.5 cm., BX2080/R57/ca. 1530

O Intemerata
The deposition of Christ from the Cross, with Mary, Mary Magdalene, and John the Disciple. Mary affectionately holds Christ, who displays the evidence of his suffering—the wounds from the crown of thorns, the piercing, and the nails. Mary Magdalene is typically pictured, as here, with her traditional ointment jar, referring to when she anointed Christ's feet before the Crucifixion.

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