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The Destruction of Jerusalem
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This image is available for download, without charge, under the Getty's Open Content Program.

Unknown
French, Paris, about 1415
Tempera colors and gold leaf on parchment
16 9/16 x 11 5/8 in.
MS. 63, FOL. 237

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In the miniature depicting the Siege of Jerusalem in 70 A.D., the Roman Emperor Titus, who directed the battle, sits enthroned in a tent while his soldiers storm the city. As is typical for the art of this period, the scene is anachronistic: the figures wear armor of the 1400s, and the city of Jerusalem is a medieval walled city with battlements, wood-and-plaster houses, and even a Gothic church. To give the illusion of recessed space, the artist used an intuitive rather than a mathematical perspective, stacking the farther buildings on top of those in the front. Despite this innovative method for representing space, he also used an un-naturalistic background of checkered squares for the sky, instead of blue paint. This miniature complements the only other full-page miniature in the manuscript, "Adam and Eve," implying a parallel between The Fall and the eventual destruction of Jerusalem. Just as Adam and Eve were punished for disobeying God, medieval Christians believed that the destruction of Jerusalem resulted from the Jews' failure to accept Jesus as the Messiah.