The Vision of the Soul of Guy de Thurno

Attributed to Simon Marmion
Flemish, Valenciennes and Ghent, 1475
Tempera colors, gold, and ink on parchment bound between pasteboard covered with modern brown morocco
14 5/16 x 10 1/8 in.
MS. 31

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The Vision of the Soul of Guy de Thurno is a French translation of a Latin text that discusses Church doctrine on purgatory (in French, the title is La Vision de l'ame de Guy de Thurno ). Guy de Thurno was a wealthy citizen of Verona who died and then returned to earth in spirit form to haunt his widowed spouse. She turns to a local priest for help, and a dialogue between the priest and the ghost on the nature of the afterlife results.

A single illumination by the renowned Flemish artist Simon Marmion decorates this copy of the text. It shows the priest and the widow, along with four other men, grouped around an empty central space occupied by Guy's ghost. The bystanders look uneasy as the priest actively debates with the unseen spirit. The manuscript was commissioned by Margaret of York, duchess of Burgundy, as a companion piece to her illuminated Visions of the Knight Tondal , also in the Getty collection, which concerns heaven and hell.

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