The Master of James IV of Scotland played with the relationship between text and image in his miniature of the Assumption of the Virgin. In most books of hours, the framed image is clearly separated from the text. But here the text, enclosed within a frame, has become part of the illusion created by the painter. In addition, the scene's rocky landscape flows unimpeded on all sides, undermining the purpose of the frame. The artist depicted a sequence of events in the landscape: on the left, the funeral procession of the Virgin; at the bottom, her open grave; and in the center, her glorious Assumption into heaven. The artist drew from various popular legends to enrich the story. According to legend, the apostles were miraculously brought to her deathbed from all over the world. Here, led by John holding a palm branch, they carry the Virgin's coffin. In the center panel, the Virgin's belt, or girdle, is given to the doubting apostle, Thomas. The text accompanying these scenes from the end of the Virgin's life belongs appropriately enough to the service of Compline, the last service of the day in the Hours of the Virgin.


  • Title: The Assumption of the Virgin (Main View)
  • Creator: Master of James IV of Scotland
  • Date Created: about 1510–1520
  • Location Created: Bruges, Belgium; Ghent, Belgium
  • Physical Dimensions: Leaf: 23.2 × 16.7 cm (9 1/8 × 6 9/16 in.)
  • Type: Folio
  • External Link: Find out more about this object on the Museum website.
  • Medium: Tempera colors, gold, and ink on parchment
  • Terms of Use: Open Content
  • Number: 83.ML.114.148v
  • Culture: Flemish
  • Credit Line: The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, Ms. Ludwig IX 18, fol. 148v
  • Creator Display Name: Master of James IV of Scotland (Flemish, before 1465 - about 1541)
  • Classification: Manuscripts (Documents)

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