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The Worship of the Inscribed Tablet from the Cross
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Simon Bening
Flemish, Bruges, about 1525 - 1530
Tempera colors, gold paint, gold leaf, and ink on parchment
6 5/8 x 4 1/2 in.
MS. LUDWIG IX 19, FOL. 235V

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Two angels hold up the tablet that Pilate ordered to be attached to the cross. According to the Gospel of John, it bore Christ's appellation, "Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews," in three languages: Hebrew, Greek, and Latin. On each side, an angel holds a candle and draws back the curtains to reveal the holy object. In the middle, another angel swings a censer, from which smoke flows toward the tablet. Conceiving the scene as a dramatic ritual presented to the beholder, Simon Bening thus singled out one of the objects from the Crucifixion for special worship.