Border with a Scene from the Life of Gideon
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Simon Bening
Flemish, Bruges, about 1525 - 1530
Tempera colors, gold paint, gold leaf, and ink on parchment
6 5/8 x 4 1/2 in.

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The Old Testament judge and warrior Gideon kneels in the bottom corner, watching as the fleece he has laid on the ground receives rain from an angel. In order to determine by sign whether or not God would deliver Israel, Gideon had proposed to God that the wetting of the fleece while the ground around it remained dry would signify God's promise of action. Christians came to see this event as a prefiguration of the Annunciation, when God again delivered humanity, this time through Christ. This page faces the manuscript's Annunciation miniature, and its text focuses on the subject of God's redemption of humanity. In both images, Simon Bening used golden rays of light to represent divine intervention.