Two grotesques from the Vaux Psalter, Lambeth Palace Library MS 233 f.15r. Glad you are back for another perplexing manuscript picture. It’s hard to believe these two grotesques are from the lovely Vaux Psalter. Just look at the left grotesque’s fearful dirty look. Dramatically amazing. But what is it? And why? Michael Camille in his book Image On The Edge calls it a […]
Jacques de Longuyon’s poem“Vows of the Peacock.”1350s Tooting butt trumpets, really? It’s amazing what you can find exploring Medieval illuminated manuscripts on the Internet. And this isn’t the only one. Medieval scribes worked long hours in cold rooms bent over their work. To entertain themselves bored and cranky Medieval scribes used the page’s margins to kvetch, adding ribald doodles that often commented on the text they were yet again copying. If this perplexing marginalia entertains you I recommend Michael Camille’s enlightening book Images on the Edge: The Margins of Medieval Art. It teaches about their comments on Medieval life and gives you a rare look at their way of thinking. Surfing the Internet for weird marginalia is fun. But Camille’s very readable book takes that beyond exploring to learning about the perplexing border pictures and the people that doodled them. Prior Related Post: You can see others in my series Perplexing Pictures In Manuscripts: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.
British Library Additional 14761 f. 30v c. 1340 Spain, N. E., Catalonia (Barcelona) I was surfing the British Library’s manuscript collection again for possible pictures to use on a scroll and noticed the cute bunnies in the manuscripts. Especially in the 14th century. So many, they weirdly multiplied like rabbits. But another thing you’ll notice is how peculiarly violent some are. Beyond […]
Cambrai Channsonier, MS. 126B fol. 132v, Bruges 1542 Bibliothèque Municipale, When you look through this 16th-century songbook made for a Bruges aristocrat you see it’s filled with artistic, decorative daily life images. But it also includes many that are bluntly bizarre or crazy. It’s the Cambrai Chansonnier, MS 0128 dated 1543. Its fun pictures are delicately drawn in pen and ink then enhanced with color washes. I love the clever images you see worked through a music staff. And those useing the staff lines as a panorama picture frame. While it’s decorative versals may be creative floral combinations, many you see are just weird, like this anthropomorphic versal. I get the scribe created the unique posture to make a capital “A”. But why dream up the weird behavior? And this is one of the kinder weird images. Some are too inappropriate for even my blog. If you’re curious have a look. There are so many images to recreate you can be selective. Consider the intended recipient’s values and your pictures purpose. Above all have fun, because the original artist did. Or the perplexing images wouldn’t have been created. Related Prior Post:You can see others in my series Perplexing Pictures In Manuscripts: 1, 2, 3.
Link to image. When you look through this 13th-century manuscript made for the Pope you see it’s filled with giant killer bunnies, geese lynching wolves, and other crazy things. They are cute, silly, or a comment on Medieval daily life. But not all. This one pictures a dog hanging by its neck from a tree. The rabbit with his paw to his mouth casually shushes the dog. Even if the rabbit was a human why would ‘he” do that? Perplexing. And there’s more. The woman over the tree is looking into her mirror, a sign her looks are most important. The mirror shows she’s vane. Vanity is prideful and “Pride” was one of the 7 Deadly Sins.So not exactly things you want to put on a scroll. What would they tell the recipient? They’re mean or hate dogs. Lack respect. Think highly of their looks. There are cuter, sillier bas-de-page illuminations you can use in the Royal 10 E IV. There’s also weirder ones, too. You’ll find them in the manuscript’s perplexing details. Related Prior Post: Perplexing Pictures In Manuscripts 1Perplexing Pictures In Manuscripts 2
14th century (1349-1351) Austria – Lilienfeld Cod. 151: Concordantiae caritatis fol. 244v There is no reason you’d want to include a prejudicial illumination like this in SCA art. But why? What do you see? This 14th-century illumination shows a man wearing a Jews hat having sex, then being mortally stabbed for it. But there’s more that’s perplexing. What’s up with his pointy hat? The tall unique hat […]
“Banquet With Courtesans In A Hostel” ca. 1455 – BNF, Paris Does this fun picture remind you of an SCA post revel? Music, food, and merry-making, but in Medieval clothing. Look again. What’s really going on? You see the musician, but one guy’s up-chucking and another’s getting handsy with a woman. The title divulges they’re cavorting with courtesans. I have a friend with a courtesan persona. Even so, I’ve never seen her act like this. Or any of my other SCA friends. At least not publicly. The SCA is a fun way to observe, learn, and recreate the Middle Ages honorable ideals. It’s perplexing when you find pictures showing it otherwise.When you find a manuscript picture like this be careful if you recreate it. What you do with it makes a difference. Consider who will see it and the format in which you place it. It might be a fun stand-alone picture for the right person, but I wouldn’t recreate it for a competition. If I saw it in an event flier it would turn me off toward the event. And the negative things this miniature implies are definitely not appropriate for an SCA Monarch’s legal document, a scroll. If you find a perplexing picture in a manuscript others will see it that way too. Let that be your cue to be cautious with how you use its recreation.