Feminae: Medieval Women and Gender Index

  • Title: Purgatory
  • Creator: Jean Colombe, Painter
  • Description:

    From the Tres riches heures manuscript, a series of weekday offices follow the Office of the Dead. Here for Monday Purgatory is presented. Tormented souls await purification, whereupon angels carry them to Paradise. Two rivers, one of fire, one of icy water, carry souls including two tonsured monks and a bishop. In the right foreground, two demonic beasts bite a voluptuous nude female soul as angels carry off two other women toward Heaven. They have completed their penance and benefited from the prayers of the living.

    Jean Colombe completed the illuminations in the Tres riches heures for Charles I, Duke of Savoy. The prayer book had been started some seventy years earlier by the Limbourg brothers, Paul, Jean, and Herman, for Jean, Duc de Berry. In comparison to his predecessors’ work, Jean Colombe’s figures are sturdier, their features are less refined, and the draperies have a greater weight. At the same time his sense of space and perspective is more developed with clearly defined foregrounds, middle grounds and vistas as demonstrated in this view of Purgatory.
  • Source: Wikimedia Commons
  • Rights: Public Domain
  • Subject (See Also): Angels Nude Purgatory Salvation Souls
  • Geographic Area: France
  • Century: 15
  • Date: 1485-1490
  • Related Work: See digital images of all the pages in the Tres riches heures from Wikimedia Commons: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Category:Tr%C3%A8s_Riches_Heures_du_Duc_de_Berry_scan_2004
  • Current Location: Chantilly, Musée Condé, MS 65/1284, fol. 113v
  • Original Location: France
  • Artistic Type (Category): Digital Images; Manuscript Illuminations
  • Artistic Type (Material/Technique): Vellum (Parchment); Paint
  • Donor: Layman; Charles I, Duke of Savoy
  • Height/Width/Length(cm): 29/21 (manuscript page)/
  • Inscription:
  • Related Resources: Autrand, Françoise et al. Les Très riches heures du duc de Berry et l'enluminure en France au début du XVe siècle. Somogy; Musée Condé, Château de Chantilly, 2004.
    Jacob, Marie. " Jean Colombe, un pittore di Bourges familier e miniatore del duca Carlo I di Savoia." Corti e città: Arte del Quattrocento nelle Alpi occidentali. Edited by Enrica Pagella, Elena Rossetti Brezzi, and Enrico Castelnuovo. Skira, 2006. Pages 463-469.
    Le Goff, Jacques. The Birth of Purgatory. University of Chicago, 1984.