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Initial T: Isaac and Esau
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Attributed to Franco dei Russi
Italian, Ferrara, about 1455 - 1460/1463
Tempera and gold leaf on parchment
22 7/8 x 16 5/16 in.
MS. 98, RECTO

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Elderly and bedridden, the Old Testament patriarch Isaac directs his eldest son, Esau, to hunt for venison. Isaac promises to give Esau his final blessing when he returns with the meal, but Esau's brother, Jacob, arrives first, dressed as a hunter, and steals the blessing. The biblical story from the book of Genesis that inspired this scene, and the chant that follows on this page, are read and sung during the Christian penitential season of Lent. The figures' brightly colored garments and the delicate gold highlights on the trees and grass are characteristic of Franco dei Russi's manuscript illumination.