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The Four Gospels in Arabic and Latin. Showing the Gospel According to Matthew. Printed at the Typographia Medicea (Medici Oriental Press) in Rome.

The Typographia Medicea was founded in 1584 by Ferdinando de’ Medici for the purpose of printing Christian texts in Middle Eastern languages, including Arabic, Turkish, and Syriac. These engravings are attributed to Italian engraver Leonardo Parasole (ca. 1570–1630), after designs by Antonio Tempesta (1555–1630). The Medici family dynasty dominated Florence from the 15th through the 18th century. Ferdinando (1548 – 1609) seceded his older brother as Grand Duke of Tuscany, a position which gave him great influence in the religious and cultural life of Florence. He was a participant in the Papal conclave of 1572, funded a number of artisan workshops, and continued the development of the Port of Livorno to encourage trade.

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This illustration from the Gospel According to Matthew depicts Jesus healing the two blind men from (9:27-31). In all of these scenes shown from this book, Jesus is among a crowd of witnesses. His disciples are depicted with solid, round halos; his own halo is radiant. He is shown clasping the hand of the girl that he brings back to life, and he touches both hands to the blind men to heal them. His contact with the afflicted people is gentle, and the presence of the people around him creates a feeling of humanity.


Artwork in the public domain