Walters Art Gallery, MS. W. 457, FOL. 117

“Death approaching the deathbed and battle over the soul.” In this miniature from the Office of the Dead, one of the most dramatic in any Book of Hours, the personification of death with bits of decaying and putrefying flesh still clinging to his bones, lays a skeletal hand on the deathbed of an old man. The latter’s soul flies heavenward toward his protector, St. Michael the Archangel, who fends off the fiends of Hell in their last ditch effort to secure this soul as one of their own. (France, Burgundy, c. 1480–90.)