Great Hours of Anne of Brittany

Great Hours of Anne of Brittany Of St Cosmas and St Damian, f. 173v


Of St Cosmas and St Damian, f. 173v

This painting shows the twin brothers – despite them being considered to be twins in hagiography, Jean Bourdichon treats them as individuals with different physical traits – with haloes inside an apse with alternating porphyry and green jasper plaques separated by Corinthian pilasters beneath a scallop-shaped, barrel vault. St Cosmas, possibly the saint on the left, wears a red bonnet, a purple overcoat featuring two fur-lined tabs with rounded ends under the collar, encircling it to hide the seam, linked to a hood. He is conducting a uroscopy for his left hand holds a wide-necked, round, glass phial of urine – to check its sedimentation according to Galen’s theory of the elements – which he points at with his right hand. St Damian is garbed in a scarlet cassock with a fur collar and cuffs and a dark blue hood over the black cap on his head. He holds a blue and white ceramic jar for storing medicinal products in his hands. Showing the men in the foreground in a three-quarter view seems to push them forwards and highlights their presence.

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