Catherine of Cleves Has a Case of the Mondays

From the Morgan Library & Museum comes this page from the Hours of Catherine of Cleves, Monday Matins “Office of the Dead.” Even in the 15th century, Mondays had a grim association.

The Morgan describes it thus:

As a man dies, his wife offers him a candle, a doctor examines his urine, and his son conspires against him. This mercenary heir is shown again, raiding his father’s coffers in the bottom border. On the right is purgatory, the place to which the dying man hopes to go. There his soul, like those depicted, will be cleansed of sin in expiating, if painful, fire.

The Office of the Dead was said for souls in purgatory (on the first Mondays of Advent and Lent, and on All Souls, among other days), even though this looks more like hell:

More on the Hours of Catherine of Cleves. 


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  • victor

    If you accept Purgatory as a place of purifying fire, where the temporal effects of your sins are burned away, then that could be a picture of Purgatory. And a few of those little naked guys look almost beatific, praying and whatnot, so perhaps they died in a state of grace. Not sure how to explain the giant bat head or the demon stuck between this teeth. Maybe it’s a lion, protecting Purgatory from demons that are trying to get at the people there… or something?