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Saint Hedwig Leaving Bloody Footprints in the Snow; The Self-Flagellation of Saint Hedwig
Silesia, Poland (Place Created)
Tempera colors, colored washes, and ink on parchment
Ms. Ludwig XI 7 (83.MN.126), fol. 38v
Leaf: 34.1 × 24.8 cm (13 7/16 × 9 3/4 in.)
Even in the depths of winter, Saint Hedwig insisted on showing her humility by walking to church in her bare feet. In the upper portion of this miniature, a servant woman points in horror to the bloody footprints left behind her in the snow. Below, the saint inflicts wounds on her own back, and then she appears again, clenching her fists in anticipation of the blows. In this way, Hedwig sought to prove her willingness to suffer pain for her faith. Self-inflicted pain was seen in the Middle Ages as a voluntary form of penance, a way of understanding and participating in the Passion of Christ.
Images of Violence in the Middle Ages (December 21 2004 to March 13, 2005)
- The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), December 21, 2004 to March 13, 2005
Imagining Christ (May 6 to July 27, 2008)
- The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), May 6 to July 27, 2008