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Miniatures from Consolation of Philosophy
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Attributed to the Coëtivy Master
French, Paris, about 1460 - 1470
Tempera colors, gold leaf, gold paint, and ink on parchment

MS. 42

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After the Bible, the Consolation of Philosophy by the Roman philosopher and statesman Boethius was the most widely read book in the Middle Ages. Boethius wrote the work, a dialogue between its author and the personification of Philosophy, in prison while awaiting trial for treason. Discussing the problem of evil and the conflict between free will and divine providence, Philosophy explains the changeable nature of Fortune and consoles Boethius in his adversity.

The Getty Museum owns a series of cuttings from a luxurious French copy of the text (Consolation de philosophie), which the Coëtivy Master illuminated in Paris around the 1460s. The miniatures give concrete visual expression to the philosophical ideas, assuring their place in the reader's memory.

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