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Denise Poncher before a Vision of Death
Master of the Chronique scandaleuse (French, active about 1493 - 1510)
Tempera colors, ink and gold on parchment
Leaf: 13.3 x 8.7 cm (5 1/4 x 3 7/16 in.)
Denise Poncher is depicted kneeling with her prayer book before Death, a terrifying skeleton covered in rotting flesh and holding numerous sickles. The jarring contrast between her innocent loveliness and the horrific specter looming above her is heightened by the presence of three victims lying on the ground nearby, who Death has already taken.
This striking image was likely a reminder of mortality and the importance of prayer in protecting the soul.