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The Golden Legend

'The Golden Legend' or 'Legenda Aurea' was written by Jacopo de Voragine (or Varagine), a Dominican friar who, in 1292, became archbishop of Genoa. It begins with an elaboration of the events recounted in the Gospels especially the life of Christ, but also includes episodes from the Old Testament and stories of the lives of the saints, and of the birth, childhood and death of the Virgin Mary drawn from numerous sources. It is arranged in accordance with feast days.

'The Golden Legend' was frequently copied and translated and, when printing was introduced, was still more popular. It was a highly important and accessible source for painters of religious subjects, especially for the lives of the saints.