The Isabella Breviary

The Isabella Breviary f. 108v, Soldiers sleeping around the tomb of Christ


f. 108v, Soldiers sleeping around the tomb of Christ

A fourteen-line single column miniature of the Soldiers sleeping around the Tomb of Christ. This is an unusual subject because the sleeping soldiers are usually combined with the figure of Christ rising from the tomb, and not as a separate scene preceding his Resurrection. Here two are sleeping on the left hand side (one in red with his back turned). Of the other two, one is standing on the right and the other is sitting on a tomb. The image perfectly conveys the feeling of Holy Saturday that the Resurrection is awaited, and that Christ still sleeps in peace. This idea is conveyed by the antiphon to the psalms for the first nocturn of Holy Saturday in the text below: In pace in idipsum dormiam et requiescam (Ps 4 v 9: I will both lay myself down in peace and sleep). There is a full border of the third category with gold dark-grey and blue acanthus scrolls and flowers.

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