The Sforza Hours - Pages 11 and 12
Copyright © The British Library Board
folio 12v, Horenbout, Christ nailed to the cross
Many books of hours contain an office called the Hours of the Cross.This illumination by Horenbout has been added around the original Italian script, instead of inserting a new leaf with a miniature.
Artists often prefaced this section with a traditional picture of the Crucifixion, but Horenbout chose this subject instead. The composition may have been influenced by an altarpiece painted by Gerard David of Bruges in the 1480s, when Horenbout was a young man.
An executioner pulls a rope to straighten Christ's feet and stretch his body while the nails are hammered in.
One of the thieves crucified with Christ waits his turn near the crest of Golgotha.
Amongst the onlookers is a figure in what has been described as 'Spanish-looking' costume. The decoration on his collar is picked out in delicate gold cross-hatching.
A labourer prepares a hole for the cross.
Onlookers and Roman soldiers below the brow of the hill are dressed in Flemish costumes and armour contemporary to Horenbout.
The right-hand page contains part of the Hours of the Cross.
An angel with a crown of thorns and nails recalls Christ's Passion.
A putto (young boy) adores the cross.