The Hours of Henry IV of France


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St Michael the Archangel, f. 71r

This image in the suffrages of the saints depicts a sublimely elegant Archangel Michael with long hair (slightly more androgynous but in keeping with the fashion of the late 15th century) and wearing plate armour. He plunges the spear topped by a cross in his right hand into an unpleasantly coloured devil, a bird-bat-human hybrid with a monstrous face on its belly. The buckler in his left hand is trimmed with lots of sapphires, rubies and pairs of pearls and has a golden protuberance emanating beams of light representing the power of God. This miniature is inspired by images of a king defeating his enemies. The suffrage begs the archangel’s intercession to free the soul of the book of hours’ owner from the clutches of the devil and take him to heaven when he dies.

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