The Assumption of the Virgin

Master of James IV of Scotland (Flemish, before 1465 - about 1541)about 1510 - 1520

The J. Paul Getty Museum

The J. Paul Getty Museum

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.

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  • Title: The Assumption of the Virgin
  • Date Created: about 1510 - 1520
  • Location Created: Bruges, Belgium
  • Physical Dimensions: w16.7 x h23.2 cm
  • Type: Folio
  • Rights: http://www.getty.edu/legal/copyright.html
  • External Link: http://www.getty.edu/art/gettyguide/artObjectDetails?artobj=4237
  • Medium: "Tempera colors, gold, and ink on parchment"
  • illuminator: Master of James IV of Scotland (Flemish, before 1465 - about 1541)
  • Terms of Use: http://www.getty.edu/legal/copyright.html
  • Subject: Angels, Christ, Apostles, Saint Thomas, Assumption of the Virgin, Funeral of the Virgin, Saint John the Evangelist