With Jean Colombe's illustration for the Office of
the Dead, we find ourselves in the choir of a church
in which a priest is officiating.
Two kneeling clerics serve a mass while others stand near the bier covered by a black cloth adorned with a white cross. The skeleton in the initial letter completes the ensemble.
The general conception of the scene is far removed from the early-fifteenth-century representations of funeral services studied by Millard Meiss ("La mort et l'office des morts a l'epoque du Maitre Boucicaut et des Limbourgs," Revue de l'Art, 1968, nos. 1-2).
Jean Colombe's painting gives a greater feeling of depth, and makes even the bier appear abnormally elongated; the scene's composition and details compare favorably with the work of the Limbourgs.
small image (22KB) --- large image (205KB) --- The funeral service (large) (229KB) --- Initial letters (large) (205KB)