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THE TAILOR SKINNED

Another apparently unique image in the story of the hare’s revenge. The hunter, naked, lies prostrate being flayed, or as would be done to the hare, skinned beginning at the foot. There is a precedent for this iconography in the martyrdom of St Bartholomew, an example of which was to be found in the stained glass at Metz Cathedral, but there is none for the hares as executioners. This takes the motif of the hunter hunted to its ultimate conclusion and perhaps strains the amusement it is designed to provoke, creating simultaneously and probably deliberately a resonance with the Crucifixion. The type of tree with two boles occurs elsewhere in the Bar books in religious scenes.

In the Pontifical this scene is found on the folio below the prayer before Mass in the Ordination of a bishop. The last line of the prayer immediately above this scene is “Through your only begotten Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, with whom and the Holy Spirit, you live and reign.”  And the marginal figures give a fresh poignancy to these words seen from a different point of view. In other words, the implications of the hunted becoming the hunter, as seen in the Passion, are made overt.

(Cambridge Fitwilliam MS 298 Pontifical of Renaud de Bar, I, fol. 74)

Canvas 25 x 20 cm.
Ref: 013d
Price €62.50 + p&p

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