Les Très Riches Heures du Duc de Berry

The Entry into Jerusalem

Folio 173v

The Lenten cycle ends with this miniature illustrating the Office of Palm Sunday ("flowered Easter," as it was called at the time). The Limbourgs have followed the text read on this occasion:
"...Go ye into the village that is over against you, and immediately you shall find an ass tied and a colt with her; loose them and bring them to me...And the disciples going, did as Jesus commanded them. And they brought the ass and the colt, and laid their garments upon them, and made him sit thereon. And a very great multitude spread their garments in the way: and others cut boughs from the trees, and strewed them in the way... " (Matthew XXI: 2 , 6-8)
We see Jesus mounted on the ass, blessing those who spread their garments on the road; the colt follows. In a tree tossing down branches is Zacchaeus, mentioned in Nicodemus's apocryphal gospel and described by Luke as climbing a sycamore tree to see Jesus over the heads of the crowd in Jericho. Christ is followed by His disciples, led by Peter.
Although not painted against a foliage background, this illustration is stylistically perhaps the most archaic in the series, particularly in its perspective. City gates of the kind shown here recall those in the Limbourgs'earlier Petites Heures and Belles Heures.
The bird's-eye view of the city walls rising to the left is usual for the time and was used in the Belles Heures. It is a strange view of Jerusalem, whose towers and belfries recall Sienese landscapes.
The miniaturists did not include crowd effects such as the ones they rendered with such diversity in the Passion cycle (folios 142v-157r), although they would have been most appropriate here.

small image (22KB) --- large image (215KB) --- Zacchaeus climbs a sycamore tree (large) (249KB) --- Christ blesses the crowd (large) (259KB)

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