Jean Bourdichon (1457-1521)
Illumination from a book of hours
Museum no. E.949-2003
Here, Bourdichon exquisitely differentiates three sources of light: the creamy illumination of Joseph's lantern; the golden gleam of the stars through the dilapidated roof of the manger; and the divine glow of the Christ child. This embodies St. Bridget of Sweden's vision of Christ's 'ineffable light and splendour…totally annihilating the material light'. This scene opened Terce, the fourth service of the Hours of the Virgin.