Ruth at Boaz’s feet

William de Brailes, Ruth at Boaz’s Feet, detail, circa 1250. Manuscript illumination, The Walters Art Museum, Baltimore, Maryland.

William de Brailes, an English artist who worked at Oxford in the middle of the 13th century, is credited with the captions and paintings found in 11 illuminated manuscripts depicting stories from the Hebrew Bible. De Brailes is one of only two English artists of the 13th century whose names we can associate with surviving works.

The above image is a section of a page that illustrates a narrative from the book of Ruth. Ruth and her mother-in-law Naomi were destitute widows. Ruth went to glean in the fields of Boaz, a kinsman of Naomi's late husband. After Boaz showed Ruth kindness by allowing her to have some of the grain, Ruth slept at Boaz's feet (depicted), usually taken to mean that she seduced him. Ruth and Boaz then marry, saving Ruth and Naomi from their plight.

William de Brailes, Ruth at Boaz’s feet. Detail of a manuscript illumination, circa 1250.

A West Semitic language, in which most of the Hebrew Bible is written except for parts of Daniel and Ezra. Hebrew is regarded as the spoken language of ancient Israel but is largely replaced by Aramaic in the Persian period.

Textual documents, usually handwritten.

A written, spoken, or recorded story.

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