Book of Hours for Rome Use
Belgium, Bruges, late 15th century
The Master of Edward IV, active 1470s to c. 1500
The Three Living and Three Dead. A
significant component of Books of Hours was the Office of the Dead,
a series of prayers said on behalf of one's departed relatives and
friends. Here the Office is introduced by the legend of the Three
Living and Three Dead in which three men ride by a graveyard and
are accosted by three skeletons who warn them: "We were once
as you are now, and what we are you soon shall be." Skulls
line the margins of the page and the motto "Memento mori"
(Remember death) urges the living to be mindful of their own deaths.
Free Library of Philadelphia, Rare Book Department, Lewis E
108, fol. 109v
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