This Christmas card features one of the illuminated pages in the Belles Heures du Duc de Berry (The Beautiful Hours of the Duke of Berry) manuscript, a lush and richly illustrated Book of Hours from the early 15th century. Jean de France commissioned Franco-Netherlandish artists known as the Limbourg brothers to enhance his liturgical text with 172 illuminations that mix Northern European style naturalistic themes with Italianate figures.
In this particular illustration, the shepherds have found the Christ child in a stable, and they then adore. St. Joseph is often depicted in these older nativity scenes asleep or pensive, an allusion to his second dream in which he is warned to flee to Egypt to escape the forthcoming danger from Herod.
"For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men." Luke 2:11-14
5" x 7"
*printed on fine, white linen card stock
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