Mary's death

Date of news: 15 August 2016

Fol. 223v

This beautiful miniature represents the Assumption of Mary, which is celebrated on 15 August. The Virgin is lying on the bed, surrounded by the twelve apostles and one small angel who is carefully rearranging her pillow. The passing of Mary, or the Assumption, is not mentioned in the bible but was passed down orally and through the apogrypha gospels. When Mary was dying, all apostles were summoned to her side, even though they were all in different locations around the world to spread the faith: Peter was in Rome, Paul in Tiber, Thomas in the Indian inlands and Jacob was in Jerusalem. The apostles who had already died were resurrected from the grave by the Holy Spirit. When they were all seated at Mary’s bedside, she was looking forward to going to God and her son. The illuminator made sure the apostles were depicted in varying states. Some are mourning, others are praying, reading, giving their blessing or conversing among themselves. Their sombre faces form a stark contrast to the happy expression on Mary’s face, who spoke the following words on her deathbed: ‘I trust our God and Master will come down from Heaven. Yes, I can already see Him.’