The Sforza Hours - Pages 3 and 4
Copyright © The British Library Board
The left-hand page contains text from the opening of St John's Gospel, continued from the scroll on the previous page. In the original manuscript, four further pages from St John follow before the miniature opposite.
folio 4r, Birago, St Luke
On the right-hand page St Luke sits with the Virgin Mary and another saint, probably St Paul. Luke was Paul's companion and wrote about his life in the Acts of the Apostles. There was also a legend that Luke was a painter who produced several portraits of the Virgin. In this miniature he is writing down her words as she speaks.
The ox was the traditional symbol of St Luke. Also a symbol of sacrifice, the ox reminded Renaissance readers of the life and sacrifice of Christ, as described in Luke's Gospel.
The interior in which St Luke and his companions sit is decorated in the style of the Italian Renaissance, with panelled walls and coffered ceiling.