The J. Paul Getty Museum

Deathbed Scene

Object Details

Title:

Deathbed Scene

Artist/Maker:

Master of James IV of Scotland (Flemish, before 1465 - about 1541)

Culture:

Flemish

Place:

Bruges, Belgium; Ghent, Belgium (Place Created)

Date:

about 1510 - 1520

Medium:

Tempera colors, gold, and ink on parchment

Object Number:

Ms. Ludwig IX 18 (83.ML.114), fol. 184v

Dimensions:

Leaf: 23.2 × 16.7 cm (9 1/8 × 6 9/16 in.)

See more

See less

Object Description

This miniature illustrates the Office for the Dead, one of the essential texts of a book of hours. Said over the body of the deceased the night before a burial, the office was also read daily as a reminder of one's mortality, reflecting the need for constant penitence. In a tour-de-force display of illusionism, the artist used the distinct compartments of frame and border to show contiguous indoor and outdoor scenes. In the lower border Death, represented as a gruesome corpse, hunts a man in a park-like landscape. Above, the victim lies on his deathbed while clerics read the Office for the Dead. The artist linked the two scenes by suggesting that the interior we see in the miniature is an enlarged, cut-away view of the house depicted in the border. In addition, an elusive figure with a red hat on the far left unites the hunting scene with the deathbed scene. This man appears twice, first leaving the hunt, walking away from the viewer down a hillside, and then passing into the house from its entryway on the left.

Exhibitions
Exhibitions
Flemish Manuscript Illumination: 1450 - 1550 (April 16 to June 30, 1985)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum (Malibu), April 16 to June 30, 1985
Illuminated Devotional Manuscripts (October 16 to December 30, 1990)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum (Malibu), October 16 to December 30, 1990
Out-of-Bounds: Marginal Imagery in Illuminated Manuscripts (April 7 to July 5, 1998)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), April 7 to July 5, 1998
Illuminating the Renaissance: The Triumph of Flemish Manuscript Painting in Europe (June 17, 2003 to February 22, 2004)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), June 17 to September 7, 2003
Building the Medieval World: Architecture in Illuminated Manuscripts (March 2 to May 16, 2010)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), March 2 to May 16, 2010