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Illuminated manuscript on vellum.

This full page miniature shows the scene of the Annunciation to Mary. Illustrations in Books of Hours consist of either the Infancy Cycle, which depicts Mary's role in the conception, birth, and childhood of Christ, or the Passion Cycle, which depicts his death and rebirth.

Text: “Domine labia mea aperies.”

Translation: “Thou O Lord wilt open my lips.”


This work from the late Middle Ages shows the Virgin Mary kneeling before the angel Gabriel in a private chamber. The red curtain behind Mary is likely a canopy bed. Mary wears a blue cape, a color symbolically associated with spirituality and closeness to God. Her left palm rests on a book, her right on her heart. Gabriel kneels below Mary, and holds a staff. The words in gold from Gabriel’s mouth read, “Ave gratia plena dns tecum,” that is, “Hail [Mary], full of grace, the Lord be with you.” Above the Angel’s raised right hand is a white dove, symbolic of the Holy Spirit. Through the window of the chamber shines a golden light, symbolic of Christ. The figure in the window holds a globe, a symbol of God the Father.