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The Entombment
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Lieven van Lathem
Flemish, Ghent, 1469 and about 1471
Tempera colors, gold leaf, gold paint, silver paint, and ink on parchment
2 1/2 x 1 13/16 in.
MS. 37, FOL. 119V

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In this intimate book of hours, the miniature of the Entombment introduces the service of Compline in the Hours of the Passion. Before a deep, receding landscape background, Jesus' followers, including two richly clad gentlemen, Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus, place his limp body in a sarcophagus. Kneeling, Mary Magdalen reverently leans over to kiss Jesus' hand. On the other side of the sarcophagus, the Virgin Mary and Saint John the Evangelist also mourn. Expanding the meaning of the central scene, the artist included in the border on the lower left the Old Testament episode of Jonah swallowed by the great fish. This episode which was understood as a prefiguration of Jesus' Entombment; just as Christ rose after three days in the tomb, Jonah emerged unharmed after three days in the belly of the fish.

Detail Views

Jonah and the great fish
Jonah and the great fish

Figure holding crown of thorns
Figure holding crown of thorns

Latin inscription
Latin inscription

Crown of thorns
Crown of thorns