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Denise Poncher before a Vision of Death
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Master of the Chronique scandaleuse
French, about 1500
Tempera colors, ink, and gold on parchment
5 1/4 x 3 7/16 in.
MS. 109, FOL. 156

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Denise Poncher is depicted kneeling with her prayer book before Death, a terrifying skeleton covered in rotting flesh and holding numerous sickles. The jarring contrast between her innocent loveliness and the horrific specter looming above her is heightened by the presence of three victims lying on the ground nearby, who Death has already taken.

This striking image was likely a reminder of mortality and the importance of prayer in protecting the soul.