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Office of the Dead

Master of James IV of Scotlandabout 1510 - 1520

The J. Paul Getty Museum

The J. Paul Getty Museum

Across from the miniature depicting the last rites and prayers at the deathbed, this illumination shows the Office of the Dead. In a small, private chapel adorned with heraldic banners, the deceased rests in a richly covered catafalque. Around him, hooded monks kneel during their devotions, members of the choir sing, and one monk passes out candles. Standing before the altar, the priest leads the service, the text of which appears on a panel illusionistically painted as if incorporated into the frame. The illuminator used the trompe l'oeil frame to separate spaces and to suggest simultaneous views of both the church's interior and its exterior and scenes above- and below-ground, including a subterranean chapel.

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