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Philosophy Instructing Boethius on the Role of God
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Attributed to the Coëtivy Master
French, Paris, about 1460 - 1470
Tempera colors, gold leaf, and gold paint on parchment
2 3/4 x 6 11/16 in.
MS. 42, LEAF 3

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This cutting probably accompanied the final chapter of Boethius's The Consolation of Philosophy, where Boethius and Philosophy, personified as an elegant woman, discuss the nature of God. God appears above in a brilliantly colored, glowing aureole surrounded by cherubim and seraphim. This God, depicted as an elderly man, holds an orb in his left hand that symbolizes his dominion over the earth while offering a sign of blessing with his right. The text that once accompanied this image explained that, "God has foreknowledge and rests a spectator from on high. . . . the ever-present eternity of his Vision dispenses reward to the good and punishment to the bad."