Les Très Riches Heures du Duc de Berry

Christ Led to the Praetorium

Folio 143r

The brilliant color of this miniature contrasts with Christ in Gethsemane on the facing page in the manuscript: the brightness of the early hours of the morning when Christ was led through Jerusalem opposes the nocturnal setting of the seizure on the Mount of Olives.
The lively colors, picturesque figures, and similar expressions of Christ give this, the following three miniatures, and the Deposition (folio 156v) a homogeneity unusual within the diversity of the Très Riches Heures. This luminous, colorful vision seems to indicate a definite Italian influence in each of these admirable paintings, which were probably among the Limbourgs' last works.
Here, a motley escort leads Christ to the Praetorium to appear before the Roman governor, soldiers dressed in coats of mail mingle with bearded Jews wearing turbans and pointed caps. The procession, bristling with lances and banners, is led by a centurion who uses his mace to knock on the door of the praetorium. These figures all reappear in the following illustrations.
Dominating the scene in the center, Christ walks with bound hands between a soldier and a servant of the high priest. Although treated like a criminal, His expression remains gravely resigned, and His halo sets Him off from the crowd.
The group winds down a street lined with picturesque houses of various hues with double - or pointed - arch windows and stepped gables more typical of a northern city such as Bruges than of a Mediterranean town.
Above, a clear bright sky enhances the blue of the garments and ground, bringing out the subtle colors and accentuating the brilliancy of the silver in the helmets and armor, and the gold in the finery that has been donned for the coming ceremony.

small image (23KB) --- large image (218KB) --- Architectural detail (large) (237KB) --- Christ is led to the Praetorium (large) (224KB)

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