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The Descent from the Cross (Opening of Vespers, Hours of the Cross)

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Miniature from Book of Hours depicting a man in a red tunic and blue cap (Nicodemus?) stands on a ladder leaning against the cross, passing the body of Christ to a man in a blue tunic with a red belt and purse (Joseph of Arimathea?) who stands to the left of the cross. Behind him, the Virgin...

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Until 1943, Miss E. M. Ranshaw (d. by 1943), London; February 9, 1943, posthumous Ranshaw sale, Sotheby's, London, lot 106, to Raphael Rosenberg [see note 1]; sold by Raphael Rosenberg to his brother, Saemy Rosenberg, Rosenberg and Stiebel, New York; 1943, sold by Rosenberg and Stiebel to the MFA for $2500 [see note 2]. (Accession Date: October 14, 1943) NOTES: [1] Miss Ranshaw had owned a total of sixteen miniatures from the same Book of Hours, which were sold together in 1943. Grete Ring, Arthur Kauffmann, and Raphael Rosenberg bought them, acquiring four leaves each (selling the remaining four leaves to a private collector, F. Springell). The four leaves acquired by Rosenberg are MFA accession numbers 43.212 - 43.515. [2] MFA accession numbers 43.212 - 43.215 were acquired together for this price.

Credit Line

Helen and Alice Colburn Fund

French (Paris), Medieval (Gothic), about 1400

Place of Manufacture

Paris, France


Overall: 10.2 x 5.8 cm (4 x 2 5/16 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Tempera and gold on parchment




Books and manuscripts, Manuscripts